8 Feb 2005

French top politician critical of French role in overseas territories

6:36 pm on 8 February 2005

The leader of France's centrist UDF party, Francois Bayrou, has criticised the French state for failing to be impartial in dealing with its overseas territories.

Mr Bayrou, who is in French Polynesia ahead of a by-election for 37 seats, says this lack of impartiality has caused damage which the state is not even aware of.

He says as a result a lot is being lost and the relationship between France and its territories has been damaged.

Mr Bayrou says there is a need for change that cannot be ignored while there is an impasse in Tahiti with the main two main political blocs.

He says change and peace can only be achieved with the Alliance for a New Democracy led by Nicole Bouteau and Philip Schyle.

After the last election in May, the French government intervened in the coalition discussions in a bid to help Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party retain power.

Mr Flosse and President Jacques Chirac belong to the UMP Party, which is the only top French party not to send politicians to campaign in Tahiti on their allies behalf.