Vanuatu PM steps in amid budget crisis

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Vanuatu's caretaker prime minister Sato Kilman has approved ten percent of a yet to be passed budget to prevent the administration from faltering.

No budget was passed last year and parliament has been dissolved.

The emergency measure was taken by Mr Kilman on his home island of Malekula because last Thursday was the last day of the government's 2015 financial year.

This followed on the advice of the former finance minister, Willie Jimmy, who contacted Mr Kilman because for the first time in the history of Vanuatu there is no minister, acting minister or care taker minister of finance.

Vanuatu will go to a snap election on January 22nd after the head of state dissolved parliament in November to end a stalemate triggered by the jailing of 14 government MPs for bribery.

Jimmy was given a suspended sentence in the same case and then barred from holding office for ten years, with the court invoking the Leadership Code.

He is appealing against the second decision, claiming it's unconstitutional to punish a person twice for the same offence.

The opposition has challenged the dissolution of parliament but says it will at the same time contest the election.

SOURCE: Radio NZ, January 3rd 2016: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/293460/vanuatu-pm-st...