20 Feb 2004

French Polynesia Speaker punches MP during Assembly session

4:18 pm on 20 February 2004

The president of the Territorial Assembly in French Polynesia, Speaker Lucette Taero, assaulted an opposition MP during this morning's session.

The fight began after the independent MP, Loic Brigato, asked the Speaker about a crude description of her used earlier by the President Gaston Flosse.

Ms Taero asked her deputy to take her chair and then walked across the Assembly chamber to punch Mr Brigato.

Mr Brigato says the Speaker laughed when Mr Flosse made the comment, which was in answer to a press conference question on whether a woman could ever become president.

Mr Flosse reportedly pointed toward Ms Taero and made the coarse comment - apparently a compliment to her strengths as a woman.

Mr Brigato is still considering whether to lay charges.