15 May 2007

French Polynesia's Tong Sang attends UMP meeting in Paris

3:48 pm on 15 May 2007

The French Polynesian President, Gaston Tong Sang, has attended the meeting of France's ruling UMP Party which farewelled its leader, Nicolas Sarkozy, as he is set to assume the presidency this week.

Mr Tong Sang said he went to Paris to hear Mr Sarkozy's message of opening and reason which Mr Tong Sang says he will reinforce in French Polynesia in view of next month's election of two members for the French assembly.

Although Mr Tong Sang is the territory's president, one of his predecessors, Gaston Flosse, is the leader of the ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party which has been losing members over the past years and which has now seen rival candidates standing for the seats.

Mr Tong Sang has told the Tahitipresse news agency that the UMP-endorsed Tahoeraa candidate, Bruno Sandras, stayed behind in Tahiti to campaign because the result in the presidential election earlier this month was very tight.

Meanwhile in Papeete, a planned sitting of the assembly had to be abandoned because of a lack of quorum and is to be held tomorrow instead.

Only 22 of the 57 members were present, with the opposition Union For Democracy staying away.