12 Feb 2008

Sarkozy calls for French Polynesian pro-autonomy leaders to reconcile following vote

8:49 pm on 12 February 2008

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has called on the two main pro-autonomy leaders in French Polynesia to reconcile in a bid to move the territory forward.

This comes after the general election failed to produce an absolute majority, leaving the To Tatou Aia group of Gaston Tong Sang two seats short of 29 needed to govern.

The rival Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse suffered major losses, but with ten seats it is in a position to shore up the pro-autonomy camp as the new assembly prepares to meet next week to elect an assembly president.

Last year, Mr Flosse joined the opposition to oust Mr Tong Sang from the presidency, deepening the rift between the two men.

Both are implicated in a fraud case dating back to 2002 and they are to appear before a judge in six weeks.

Mr Sarkozy has also confirmed that he will visit Tahiti in late April.