14 Aug 2007

French Polynesian opposition may shun Paris talks on changes to electoral system

10:27 am on 14 August 2007

The French Polynesian pro-independence opposition says it may stay away from next week's planned Paris conference to discuss a third change of the territory's electoral in three years.

The Union For Democracy, led by Oscar Temaru, has been calling for fresh elections amid rifts within the ruling anti-independence camp, in which President Gaston Sang no longer has the support of the leadership of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.

Mr Tong Sang and leaders of smaller parties are expected to fly to Paris later this week.

A spokesperson for the Union For Democracy, Tea Hirshon, says her side is not keen as previous changes to the system were imposed under urgency and without consultation.

She says Paris has asked Mr Temaru to attend.

"We haven't decided. They've been calling, they have been pressuring him in giving an answer which he will not give for the moment because we haven't decided."

Tea Hirshon

The Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, is also expected to be there.

Paris has signalled that it wants to push through reforms next month and possibly bring forward the 2009 election to later this year or early next year.