7 Jun 2002

French Polynesian president rejects dictator label

11:49 am on 7 June 2002

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, has spoken out against comments by his political rivals who called him a dictator.

According to a report from the news agency, AFP, Mr Flosse says he considers such claims to be slanderous but he says that label has been used for twenty years by those he confronts in politics because they accept neither his personal popularity nor that of his party.

The comment comes after the two candidates of his Tahoeraa Huira'atira party, Michel Buillard and Beatrice Vernaudon, won the territory's two seats in the French parliament in last weekend's first round of the election.

Mr Flosse says their success is due to them being the only ones to stand for a programme that is credible.

Mr Flosse, who is French Polynesia's member of the French senate, says he also disagrees with comments that his party is the dominant.

And he has described the pro-independence movement's decision to abstain from the vote as a poltical error.