27 Sep 2004

French Polynesian Government confident of rebel MPs' votes

1:39 pm on 27 September 2004

The French Polynesian Government says it believes that two MPs who have left to become independents will continue voting with it and will not join the opposition.

The departure from the ruling Coalition for Democracy of Noa Tetuanui and Jean-Marie Frebault has left President Oscar Temaru with a majority of two.

The two MPs are part of a group of four rebel MPs, two of whom remain in the coalition, who have boycotted sittings of the Legislative Assembly recently.

A spokesman for Mr Temaru, Claude Marere, concedes the rebel MPs, including the new independents, are a major headache for Mr Temaru's government.

But Mr Marere says Mr Temaru believes the two will not bring his government down.

"He said yesterday night when he was at the airport going back to Tahiti. He said that he knows that they will not break the majority, they will not join the opposition of Mr [Gaston] Flosse. They will stay with us. This is what he said yesterday night, and this is my opinion too. They cannot go to the clash and they will negotiate to be satisfied."

Claude Marere also describes the creation of a new political party in the territory, Te Avei'a, as a puppet of the Gaston Flosse opposition.

Meanwhile, Mr Temaru's spokesman says the French Polynesian president has returned from medical checks in New Zealand that confirmed he is in good health.

Mr Temaru was in Auckland for four days and returned to Tahiti on Saturday.