12 Nov 2004

Academic says France is taking too long to resolve French Polynesia political impasse

3:24 pm on 12 November 2004

A New Zealand political scientist says France is taking too long to resolve the damaging impasse in French Polynesia.

There are two rival governments both claiming to be in charge in French Polynesia, more than a month after the ousting of Oscar Temaru.

Key court decisions are awaited in France that will spell out, over the next week or more, the scope of likely new elections in the territory.

Dr John Henderson, a lecturer in Pacific politics at Canterbury University, says France's highest administrative court is expected to rule on Monday that new elections should be held in the windward islands.

This follows claims of irregularities in elections held in May.

Dr Henderson says France bears ultimate responsibility for elections in the territory, but it appears in no hurry to resolve the situation.

"Ultimately France is exercising the authority that it has, it's just taking some time, and far too long in my opinion, because of the tension and instability that's generated in the meantime."

Dr Henderson says there's a chance the court could order fresh territory-wide elections, which he believes would best resolve the impasse.