27 Oct 2004

French high commission declines to comment on plans by new government

2:07 pm on 27 October 2004

The French high commission in Papeete has declined to comment on the new French Polynesian government's intention to retake the administration from the caretaker government.

President Gaston Flosse named a 17 member government, which he says must take immediate action because the economy is now paralysed.

But, the presidential grounds remain occupied by Oscar Temaru and his supporters who claim he remains the rightful president.

Radio New Zealand International's news editor, Walter Zweifel, reports from Papeete.

"Mr Flosse has called on his ministers to start work right away but if they're denied access to their premises, to have this officially confirmed and not to use force. While being responsible for public security, the French high commission had no comment on what it will do about what Mr Flosse calls the illegitimate occupation of the presidential palace. Scuffles broke out on the grounds there today when a man claimed now to be the president because he was the only person in the assembly yesterday. No sittings for fresh presidential elections took place yesterday because the third-vice president did not act on the assembly speaker's instructions. That has now left the territory with two rival governments."