12 Apr 2006

Another French Polynesian cabinet minister resigns

8:10 pm on 12 April 2006

The French Polynesian telecommunications minister, Emile Vernaudon, has resigned, saying President Oscar Temaru failed to keep his promises.

Mr Vernaudon is the second minister to quit the coalition government in two weeks and this comes just two days before the planned election of a new assembly president.

Mr Vernaudon has been serving a one-year suspended jail sentence for corruption but neither resigned from the government nor was sacked when he was convicted in January.

His two Aia Api party colleagues in the coalition government have remained in government.

Mr Vernaudon also says he stepped down because Mr Temaru spoke out for independence when it was not on the goverment's agenda.

Mr Vernaudon has been in talks with the opposition's Gaston Flosse who has been seeking to get an assembly majority by rallying MPs around a call for continued autonomy within France.