French Polynesia's Temaru wants to run for French presidency
French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru wants to run for French presidency.
French Polynesia's pro-independence opposition leader, Oscar Temaru, says he wants to stand for the French presidency next year.
Mr Temaru, who has been the territory's president five times, made the surprise announcement earlier this month.
Initial reaction in Tahiti has been muted
Walter Zweifel asked Mr Temaru what prompted him to stand.
OSCAR TEMARU: 2017 would be 40 years of so-called autonomy in this French colony. Since the first statute of 1977 up until the last one, it has been modified, updated, retailored and it is a failure that even Gaston Flosse now recognises. We must flip this page and write new chapters in the book of Maohi Nui - freedom. So I am hopeful that I can get 500 endorsements so that I can run for the next French presidential elections. Our goal is to win these elections here in Maohi Nui, not in France.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: By winning in French Polynesia what do you mean? You want to have the largest number of votes from local people over any other French candidate - is that the goal?
OT: Yes, that's the one because I am sure the French president, Mr Francois Hollande, will run for that election and some other people in France, the right-wing people, maybe Sarkozy again. And out goal is to win that election here.
WZ: Is this a publicity stunt to get onto the French stage?
OT: Well, it has never been done before. The main obstacle is to get the 500 endorsements. If you make the application you have to be supported by at least 500 elected people of the French parliament like members of the parliament, Senators, mayors of the different cities of France, so that is the main challenge.
WZ: You're saying you're not aiming to become the French president. So why would any deputy or mayor in France want to give support to a candidate from French Polynesia, from far away, who is not serious contender for the top office?
OT: We will explain to them as I told you. The reality of this country is that it is still a French colony, and the French people are very keen to support the ideas of freedom.
WZ: At the same time there seems to be little support in French government, be it conservative of socialist, for your endeavours of a decolonisation. Three years ago you were put back on the list, but there seems to be very little acknowledgment or support from Paris that this vote in New York has taken place.
OT: Yeay, that's also why we are running for this election to remind to the French people - not to the Socialist Party but the French people - that we did not have the support of the Socialist Party.
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