16 Jun 2008

New political unrest in French Polynesia

5:33 am on 16 June 2008

The ruling coalition in French Polynesia is faced with a fresh challenge as the leader of one of the biggest parties has accused fellow politicians of being too greedy.

Emile Vernaudon, who heads the Aia Api Party, says other coalition members are not paying enough attention to the issues he is raising and this could lead to the possibility of breaking away from the Gaston Tong Sang-led government.

The current government has been in power for two months and has been reshuffled twice in moves seen as key to maintain the one-seat majority in the assembly.

Mr Vernaudon says, however, he has had no talks with the opposition's Gaston Flosse or Oscar Temaru whose rival coalition was ousted in a no confidence vote after two of their members defected to Mr Tong Sang's side.

Mr Vernaudon has also announced that his party will name a candidate in this year's election of two senators to represent the territory in Paris.

Mr Vernaudon could not stand for re-election to the assembly in February because he was held in prison for three months as part of a fraud probe.

This prompted his party to name his wife as candidate, who Mr Tong Sang put in fourth place of his electoral list ahead of the last February's general election.