Tahitian royal forms government

Updated at 11:26 am on 23 January 2006

The heir to the Tahitian crown, the Prince Royal of Tahaa Tauatomo Mairau, has announced the formation of four-member government - a move which he says is not aimed at destabilising the French Polynesian administration.

In a statement, Tauatomo Mairau says the royal status is being reconfirmed as are the rights and privileges recognised in the declaration of 1880 signed by France and King Pomare V.

He has named two men and two women to his government, with Prince Henri Piritua being named foreign minister.

The statement says the formation of a royal government is in no way aimed at reneging on the ties that unite the Polynesian people and the French state.

Tauatomo Mairau says he wants to denounce the errors that have been committed and work towards rectifying them.

The 1880 document states that the power to govern is given to France with the proviso to do so in line with Tahitian laws and customs.

There has been no French reaction to the statement.

Tauatomo Mairau's earlier attempts to meet the French president, Jacques Chirac, have been unsuccessful.

Next story in Pacific: Fiji calls for integrity of election registration process