16 Dec 2004

French Polynesia's Flosse opposes French election observers

2:44 pm on 16 December 2004

French Polynesia's ruling party has come out against French opposition parliamentarians who have formed a committee aimed at ensuring that French Polynesia's by-election in February will be fair.

Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party says the only one who cheated in the May general election was Oscar Temaru whose victory was overturned by the French supreme court.

The party says Mr Flosse has always chosen legality while the Socialists have a partnership with Mr Temaru's party which sows disorder and hate while wanting to put French Polynesia on a path of independence and misery.

The French politicians want to observe campaigning for the February polls, claiming that there is a risk of cheating as the Flosse system fights for its survival.

One MP, the former overseas territories minister Christian Paul, says the election for Tahiti and Moorea has to be held without any doubts or suspicions.

Mr Temaru, who was ousted two months ago, wants international observers.

The matter has also been raised with the Pacific Islands Forum but it has made no commitment.

It called off a planned fact-finding mission after France deemed such a visit was premature.

Meanwhile, French Polynesia's budget minister says data processing has been shifted to a secret location because of ongoing blockades.

The data centre has been blocked and 5,000 people on the public payroll have been at risk of not being paid before Christmas.

The minister, Georges Puchon, says this should make it possible for the pays be made by Christmas Eve.