3 Dec 2004

Six Vanuatu ministers resign over Prime Minister's Taiwan policy

2:24 pm on 3 December 2004

Six Government ministers have resigned in Vanuatu in protest over Prime Minister Serge Vohor's attempts to extend diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

The vice-president of the National United Party, Willie Jimmy, says the move has now given the opposition a clear majority.

Mr Jimmy says 15 Government members crossed the floor to support 19 Opposition members who signed a motion of no confidence in the Government.

But he says the resignations related only to the Taiwan issue.

"I think it was to change the Government for the sake of disagreeing with the Taiwan policy, the Prime Minister's commitment with Taiwan. It was just a protest against that issue, that's all."

Mr Jimmy says the speaker is seeking a court interpretation of whether the motion can be brought given the constitutional change in October which barred votes of no confidence within a year of a government being elected.