26 Aug 2010

Tahiti election reform talks in doubt

1:15 pm on 26 August 2010

There are growing signs that next month's planned talks in Paris about electoral reforms in French Polynesia will fail.

The opposition Union For Democracy has already said it won't attend the meeting called by the French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard.

Other political leaders say there may be no point in travelling to France and instead have the minister fly to Tahiti to discuss a way forward.

A French Polynesian member of the French assembly, Bruno Sandras, has questioned the sense of going to France if the Union For Democracy is absent.

Reports say the President, Gaston Tong Sang, is being lobbied to also stay away.

Paris has under urgency changed Tahiti's electoral system three times since 2004 but the modifications have failed to restore political stability despite early elections in 2008.

The last change was pushed through despite the French Polynesian assembly voting overwhelmingly against the reform preceding the election.