31 Oct 2008

French Polynesian assembly fails to meet for lack of quorum

1:38 pm on 31 October 2008

French Polynesia's assembly has deferred today's sitting because it was short of a quorum as some members preferred to follow the annual Hawaiki Nui Va'a outrigger race.

Fewer than half the members were in attendance.

The assembly has been scheduled to vote on whether the veteran leader, Gaston Flosse, and his supporters to repay three million US dollars in public funds which the French accounts office says was misspent under a system designed to deceive.

Mr Flosse, who is also a member of the French senate, has accused both the French judiciary and the French state of staging a plot against him over the funds which were disbursed between 1996 and 2004.

Mr Flosse says the French action against him is devised to protect French bureaucrats.

Yesterday, a small group demonstrated against any attempts by the politicians to now declare financial abuse as being expenditure for the public good.

The Porinetia Ora leader, Teiva Manutahi, told a local newspaper if the vote goes in Mr Flosse's favour, the assembly is no longer the people's house but a laundry.