25 Jul 2006

French Polynesian leader says politicians convicted of fraud trying to topple his government

7:55 pm on 25 July 2006

The French Polynesian president has lashed out at unnamed opposition politicians, accusing them of trying to overthrow his government.

Speaking in an interview on local RFO televison, Oscar Temaru denounced media reports and recent strikes which he says are part of a campaign to create political instability.

Mr Temaru says the population won't want the former leaders to be returned.

"Those people that have embezzled public funds, who have been judged and sentenced, those are the same people who want to return to power. Never would the population accept that."

The French Polynesian assembly has two party leaders, Emile Vernaudon and Gaston Flosse, who have been given suspended prison sentences for corruption this year.

Despite their criminal conviction, they have not quit their seats nor been removed from office by the French state.