PORT VILA, Vanuatu (March 27, 2001 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Vanuatu's government has fallen.

The opposition passed a motion of no confidence by a vote of 29-23 in the administration of Prime Minister Barak Sope.

The Council of Ministers has asked the president to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections.

Opposition leader Edward Natapei, who heads the Vanu‘aku Party, says the government has badly mismanaged Vanuatu's financial affairs.

Natapei said the government has done little to encourage private investment in the country.

"The current government has been trying to promote investment through one or two people. A lot of the investors who wanted to come in found it difficult to work with the government," he said.

He noted that the government is facing a financial crisis. Many departments don’t have the money to provided essential services to the public.

"We’ve taken this move to try and save the nation," he said.

Natapei said Vanuatu must also work to be removed from the list of nations allegedly involved in money laundering schemes in the Pacific.

"If nothing is done by the end of July, we will face a lot of problems," he said.

The opposition party has been urging the prime minister for the past few months to resign.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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