[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Constitutional crisis hits Nauru
Nauru
The president of the Pacific nation of Nauru has dissolved parliament and declared a state of emergency.

President Ludwig Scotty said he took the step in order to resolve a deadlock over a minister's suspension.

He said he would continue to govern Nauru until elections were held later this month.

Opposition leaders have condemned the president's action as unconstitutional, and say they will challenge it in the Supreme Court.

Mr Scotty addressed the nation on Thursday night, announcing his decision to sack parliament and declare a state of emergency.

According to Radio Australia, Mr Scotty said a new election would be held on 23 October.

Until then, Mr Scotty will effectively have absolute power over the tiny island nation, which has a population of fewer than 13,000 people.

According to parliamentary Speaker Russell Kun, the crisis was caused by Health Minister Kieren Keke, who refused to leave parliament on Thursday after being suspended for holding dual Nauru and Australian nationality.

There's anarchy going on around here
Russell Kun, parliamentary speaker
Mr Kun said that Mr Keke's suspension had lost the government its majority, and with parliament tied at eight votes on each side, it had been unable to approve the national budget in time for a midnight deadline.

The situation exacerbates the island's shaky financial standing. It has already defaulted on major US loan repayments.

But Mr Kun insisted the president had overreacted by declaring a state of emergency, a constitutional provision designed only for a major security alert.

While talking on the phone to journalists, Mr Kun said two policemen were waiting to escort him from his office.

"There's anarchy going on around here," he said. "There's orders given to police that I vacate my office. I'm packing while I'm talking to you."

"It's incredible. It [Nauru] has been single-handedly taken over by one person," he said.




SEE ALSO:
Australia takes control in Nauru
26 Jul 04  |  Business
Nauru gets new leader
22 Jun 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Cash-strapped Nauru wins bail-out
04 May 04  |  Business
Country profile: Nauru
31 Jan 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Nauru
18 Feb 03  |  Asia-Pacific


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific