20 May 2002

Descendant of Tahitian king challenges president

2:35 pm on 20 May 2002

A French Polynesian court is to rule on a complaint that the territorial president, Gaston Flosse, is not allowed to carry his title.

The complaint has been lodged by Tauatomo Mairau who is a descendant of King Pomare of Tahiti and claims to be the prince royal.

Mr Mairau says the 1880 treaty between the king and France and a constitutional article of 1958 stipulate that it is up to the French president to name the French Polynesian government.

He claims Mr Flosse has not been appointed by the French state and has not been chosen through a direct popular vote.

Mr Mairau says the internal autonomy is unconstitutional and he has called on Mr Flosse to resign and relinquish his title but Mr Flosse has refused to respond to the challenge.

The administrative tribunal in Pape'ete will make a decision in two months.