21 Jan 2008

French Polynesia's ruling party boycotts delayed autonomy anniversary celebration

10:44 am on 21 January 2008

French Polynesia's ruling Union For Democarcy has boycotted a ceremony to mark 50 years of autonomy in relationship with the colonial master France.

The event was organised by the assembly president, Edouard Fritch of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, and attended by about 100 guests.

Mr Fritch acknowledged that the 50th anniversary for the first autonomy statute was in July last year but he says the agenda late last year was full so the event had to be deferred until January of this year.

The Union For Democracy described the timing as a publicity coup as campaigning is to end later this week for the first round of an early general election to choose a new 57-member assembly.

The leader of the Union For Democracy, Oscar Temaru, has been pushing for the territory's decolonisation along the lines of arrangements in place for New Caledonia.