Ruling Tahiti party loses assembly majority

11:04 am on 8 May 2015

French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira has lost its majority in the territorial assembly after 15 of its 38 members formed a new group within the assembly.

This follows weeks of tension within the party, whose majority has remained faithful to its leader, Gaston Flosse, while dissidents have sided with the president, Edouard Fritch, and his government.

The new group around Mr Fritch has adopted the name Tapura Huiraatira although it is not clear yet if it will form a new party.

As a result, the chairmanships of the assembly commissions have been redistributed.

The Tahoeraa Huiraatira lost seven of the nine commissions, with the new Tapura Huiraatira group securing three and the two opposition parties two each.

The rift within the Flosse-led party led to it last month expelling four high profile members, including the vice president and the mayor of Papeete, after two of them announced that they were seeking French Senate seats.

In the 2013 election, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira failed to secure a majority of the votes but won 38 of the assembly's 57 seats because the electoral system gave bonus seats to the party coming first.

The French Polynesia parliament building

The French Polynesia parliament building Photo: RNZ

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