French president welcomes French Polynesia's change of leadership

Updated at 1:38 pm on 17 April 2008

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has congratulated Gaston Tong Sang on becoming the president of French Polynesia following a motion of no confidence that ousted the seven-week old government of Gaston Flosse.

Mr Sarkozy says the result of the election respects the democratic choice of the Polynesians and their attachment to the autonomy statute.

He declined to congratulate Mr Flosse when he was elected in March.

Mr Tong Sang has become the third president in two months after the defection of two assembly members gave his To Tatou Aia coalition the minimum 29 votes to pass the motion.

The French Democratic Centre party of Jean-Christophe Lagarde says the vote marks the end of the alliance against nature forged between Mr Flosse and Oscar Temaru of the union For Democracy.

A French Socialist MP, Rene Dosiere, has likened the defections and latest changes to political prostitution which hasn't brought political stability.

He has warned that the French taxpayers won't forever want to pay for the political antics that enrich those elected in French Polynesia.

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