24 Apr 2008

French Polynesian assembly member threatens with defection

7:48 pm on 24 April 2008

A new French Polynesian assembly member, Joelle Frebault, has threatened to defect to the opposition because her husband was not made a minister last weekend.

President Gaston Tong Sang announced a 14-member government, trying to accommodate the aspirations of his eight-party coalition.

Among those selected as ministers are close relatives of the two assembly members who defected last week to give him the minimum 29 members to oust the previous government.

In a bid to broaden his support, he gave one ministry to the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira's Armelle Merceron and has kept one position open in the expectation it will be filled by another opposition member, Georges Handerson.

Mrs Merceron's successor in the assembly, Rene Temeharo, says he won't support any motion of no confidence in the administration formed less than a week ago.

Mr Handerson says he wants to form a new group within the assembly, adding that he won't back a no-confidence move either unless there is a strong majority for change.