26 Sep 2007

French Polynesian president lashes out against French plans for Tahiti

12:42 pm on 26 September 2007

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has challenged the French plan to call early elections in Tahiti and warns of a possible political radicalisation because of hasty and botched polls.

Speaking at the start of the budget debate, Mr Temaru says he is opposed to the shortening of the current five-year term of the assembly and early elections in January under a new electoral system.

He says he is astounded that France wants to impose the changes when the assembly regularly elects a government in favour of independence.

Mr Temaru says he has the impression that Paris cannot accept that a pro-independence government rules in Tahiti and that as result efforts are being made to contest its legitimacy.

The French government has said it will pass the reforms under urgency in a bid to restore political stability in French Polynesia.

But Mr Temaru says things have changed and 44 out of 57 assembly members will oppose the French plan.

Mr Temaru says if approved, the changes will be interpreted as an act of colonialism and a human rights violation.