1 Mar 2005

French Polynesia's Puchon confirms talks with Temaru camp

5:28 pm on 1 March 2005

The caretaker finance minister in French Polynesia, Georges Puchon, has confirmed that he has been in touch with the rival Union for Democracy for talks about joining a possible government of national unity.

But Mr Puchon has ruled out joining the Oscar Temaru-led party which is set to elect the next president and head of government in two days [FRIDAY NZ TIME].

Mr Temaru is the favourite in the election which is also expected to be contested by the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party's Gaston Tong Sang.

Mr Puchon says he will stay with Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa but told the Tahitipresse news agency that he has been warned he will be expelled from the party if he becomes a minister in a Temaru-led government.

On the eve of the vote on the no confidence motion that ousted the government, Mr Flosse wrote to party leaders in a bid to form a government of national unity.