15 Dec 2008

Meeting of top French Polynesia politicians expected this week

11:48 am on 15 December 2008

A top-level meeting of French Polynesia's politicians is expected by the end of the week in a bid to break a deadlock in the assembly which is yet to approve the 2009 budget.

The President Gaston Tong Sang was forced to defer a planned meeting with the opposition because the pro-independence leader, Oscar Temaru, is now not due to return from New Zealand until later this week.

Mr Tong Sang relaunched his bid for a political opening after a member of his To Tatou Aia coalition resigned because she disagrees with the budget, thereby depriving him of his one-member majority in the assembly.

The opposition, led by Gaston Flosse, has responded to the development by calling on Mr Tong Sang to resign.

Mr Tong Sang came to power in April after two politicians of the rival camp switched to his side to give him a one-member majority needed to pass a no-confidence motion.

The vote ousted the government of Mr Flosse one month into its five-year term.