20 Apr 2006

In French Polynesia - discussions on setting up assembly committees delayed

10:05 am on 20 April 2006

The French Polyensian assembly has deferred discussions on setting up assembly committees until tomorrow amid disagreements over the resignation of a minister, Emile Vernaudon.

The opposition asked for a deferral because Mr Vernaudon's resignation has not been acknowledged by the President, Oscar Temaru, and he can therefore not return to his assembly seat.

The opposition's Gaston Flosse says this means that a member chosen by his voters cannot express himself in the assembly.

Last week, Mr Temaru was told by the supreme court in Paris to act on a resignation of another minister after the presidency pointed out that the autonomy statute makes no mention of any timeframe to accept a resignation.

The assembly has now decided to adjourn the debate to form committees until tomorrow although it's not clear whether Mr Temaru will allow Mr Vernaudon to join the assembly then.

The ruling Union For Democracy has lost support and the main opposition party is vying to deposit a no confidence motion in a bid to give the territory its fifth government in less than two years.