11 Dec 2003

French Polynesian accuses France of toying with constitution

4:52 pm on 11 December 2003

A French Polynesian opposition politician, Loic Brigato, has accused the French government of playing with the constitution by avoiding a referendum on a proposed change to French Polynesia autonomy statute.

The French prime minister, Jean Pierre Raffarin, has accepted a request by the president of the French Polyensian government, Gaston Flosse, to give urgency to the package after its amendment by the council of state.

This means that the bill for increased autonomy will have only one reading and is set to be voted on in the senate on the last day of sittings before Christmas.

Mr Brigato says the process is unprecedented.

"They are playing with the law, they are playing with the constitution. The French constitution is the real basis of the organisation of the political, economic and cultural system and they are playing with that. They are making an exception where it is totally illegal and illogical to do so."

Loic Brigato, an opposition member of the French Polynesian territorial assembly