20 Jan 2010

French Polynesia opposition cool about Sarkozy reform bid

5:50 pm on 20 January 2010

The opposition in French Polynesia has given a cool response to the announcement by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, that he wants to change French Polynesia's electoral system this year in a bid to increase political stability.

Mr Sarkozy says the chronic instability is intolerable and Polynesia deserves better than a vast comedy where yesterday's foes become today's allies.

But the opposition says any change is above all a French Polynesian affair and in a democracy, the autonomous territory has a right to be respected by Paris.

It says both in 2004 and 2007 France changed the electoral system on the basis of a partnership with one political group while excluding all others, with the outcome everybody knows.

Since the last election in 2008 there have been four presidents, with the first of them, Gaston Flosse, being toppled in a no confidence vote a month into his five-year term.