31 Jul 2008

French Polynesia's Flosse angered by Jego snub

1:52 pm on 31 July 2008

French Polynesia's member of the French senate, Gaston Flosse, has formally sought a right of reply after a French junior minister, Yves Jego, insinuated that he no longer belonged to France's ruling UMP camp.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Mr Jego alleged that by entering an alliance with Oscar Temaru's pro-independence movement, Mr Flosse had apparently quit what he described as the republican family.

In February, the UMP severed all ties with Mr Flosse's party in Tahiti after it refused to form a government with the To Tatou Aia coalition of Gaston Tong Sang.

With French senate election's due in September, Mr Flosse has issued a statement to reaffirm that he continues to belong the centre-right UMP camp which he says he helped found 30 years ago.

He says it was his lobbying that helped Nicolas Sarkozy win the presidency last year.

And he says in the French protege's area - an allusion to Mr Tong Sang - people gave more votes to the Socialist candidate, Segolene Royal.

So far, Mr Flosse is the only official French Polynesian candidate for the territory's two seats in the French senate.