22 Oct 2004

France claims neutral ahead of French Polynesia vote

9:20 am on 22 October 2004

France says it will let the democratic process unfold as normal in French Polynesia.

The French overseas minister, Brigitte Girardin, has told the newspaper, Le Monde, that the republic isn't meddling in the politics of its territory.

Members of the the territorial assembly are due to vote for a president tomorrow.

The former leader Gaston Flosse is seeking to return to power after his supporters defeated the government in a vote of censure a fortnight ago.

Mrs Girardin says remarks that Mr Flosse has been given preferential treatment from the French president, Jacques Chirac, are totally out of place.

She says the French High Commission in Papeete has given perfect judgments on the legality of recent political hearings.

Officials in Papeete have confirmed reports that a corruption probe has been running since last October into the alleged misuse of public funds by Gaston Flosse.