17 Sep 2004

French Polynesian government disunity stops budget debate

1:37 pm on 17 September 2004

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, says dissent within his ruling coalition won't derail his programme of reform despite a failure by his grouping to have a quorum in today's sitting in parliament.

Four members of his ruling coalition forced the postponement of the session.

The four led by Hiro Tefaarere want better representation for outlying island groups, with two extra ministers to take care of the Marquesas and Windward Islands.

It's unclear whether Mr Tefaarere and his allies will be present at the budgetary session tomorrow.

The president of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, Edouard Fritch, won't be drawn on whether he and his group will turn up on time to tomorrow's session.

But Mr Fritch denies he's playing the so-called politics of the empty chair.

He says he's not had any contact with Mr Tefaarere with regard to any would-be alliance.

But the party says it appears Mr Temaru is now unable to govern.