27 Jan 2003

French Polynesian opposition concerned about Flosse policies

5:11 pm on 27 January 2003

Two French Polynesian opposition pro-autonomy parties have accused President Gaston Flosse's administration of pursuing an insidious and masked policy of independence.

The leaders of the Fetia Api and Aia Api parties say Mr Flosse shows a strong separatist tendency and appears to seek to assume all powers of the state within the territory.

The two leaders say Mr Flosse made an unsettling comment when he said in front of a French and a French Polynesian flag on Rapa island that there was one too many.

The criticism comes just days after French Polynesian port officials ignored a stay order by a court and sank a damaged cruise liner off Tahiti.

Last week, assessors sent by the court to inspect the wreck found the quay in Papeete empty.

The authorities disposed of the vessel in the middle of the night, citing security concerns in the face of incement weather.

The opposition leaders say they are worried about the scorn shown towards the justice system.