30 Sep 2007

Ousted French Polynesia president forms new party

7:10 pm on 30 September 2007

French Polynesia's former president, Gaston Tong Sang, has formed his own party, a month after being voted out from the presidency by his party colleagues.

Mr Tong Sang's O Porinetia To Tatou Ai'a is the latest group to break away from the territory's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party whose members joined the opposition to vote him out of office.

His election defeat came after months of acrimony within the Tahoeraa ranks over who he chose to be in government.

The new party is being joined by a minister of his former administration and four more members of the 57-member assembly.

O Porinetia To Tatou Ai'a is expected to sign co-operation deals with two other small parties tomorrow ahead of early general elections likely to be called early next year.

An overwhelming majority in the French Polynesian assembly appears to be opposed to reforms proposed by France aimed at shortening the term of the current assembly and changing the electoral system for the third time in three years.

The ruling Union for Democracy also wants to defer elections until after the 2008 municipal polls.