Tahiti's Flosse criticised for Sarkozy deal

1:52 pm on 18 October 2016

French Polynesia's ruling party has lashed out at a former president Gaston Flosse after his party decided to align itself with Nicolas Sarkozy and his bid to regain the French presidency next year.

Gaston Flosse

Gaston Flosse Photo: RNZ

In a statement, the Tapura Huiraatira said this amounted to a total u-turn because the Tahoeraa Congress had earlier ruled out backing Mr Sarkozy but instead opted to support his rival Alain Juppe.

The Tapura has likened the change to the surprise alliance in 2007 when Flosse sided with his former opponents.

It wonders what deal was struck between Flosse and Mr Sarkozy and whether it relates to the French National Assembly election which both the Tapura and the Tahoeraa are poised to contest in Tahiti.

The Tapura suggests there may be a link to Flosse's criminal convictions and his failure to secure a presidential pardon two years ago when he was forced to leave public office.

Temaru revisits Fritch's UN speech

Meanwhile, French Polynesia's pro-independence camp has accused the president Edouard Fritch of misleading the international community by purporting to speak on behalf of the Polynesian people.

The claim was made at a news conference in Tahiti following presentations by Mr Fritch and several pro-independence speakers at the decolonisation debate at the United Nations in New York earlier this month.

In his address, Mr Fritch said the pro-independence movement in French Polynesia had never been a majority movement.

Pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru said the French constitution had been amended to take away the term 'overseas people' to replace it with the term 'overseas population'.

Mr Temaru said only independent countries were made up of peoples.

He also said Mr Fritch travelled the Pacific with his former leader Gaston Flosse for years to say the French nuclear weapons tests were clean but now everybody knew that French Polynesians were France's guinea pigs for 30 years.

France is firmly opposed to French Polynesia's decolonisation and has described the UN's re-listing of its territory as interference.