8 May 2008

French Polynesian opposition likens government moves to putsch

3:31 pm on 8 May 2008

French Polynesia's government assembly members say they want to elect a new assembly president later this week in what the opposition likens to a putsch.

Today, they opened a meeting in a building separate from the assembly but described the gathering as an assembly sitting.

This came after yesterday's scheduled assembly meeting failed to go ahead because there was no quorum.

The assembly president, Oscar Temaru, who is an opposition politician, didn't open the sitting yesterday and called for a new meeting on May the 22nd.

But President Gaston Tong Sang asked that a new meeting be convened today.

After Mr Temaru had ignored the request, the government assembly members held their meeting today and decided to let Philip Schyle act as assembly president.

The situation is unprecedented and follows weeks of instability which failed to ease despite a general election less than three months ago.