9 Apr 2009

French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse leaves Temaru government

4:36 am on 9 April 2009

The leader of French Polynesia's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, Gaston Flosse, has refused to give in to a reported demand by President Oscar Temaru to quit his assembly seat and decided to take his party out of the two-months old government to become the new opposition.

At a special party meeting last night, the Tahoeraa resolved to no longer support the two-month old government of Mr Temaru who is about to finalise a new powersharing deal with Gaston Tong Sang's opposition To Tatou Aia coalition.

The Tahoeraa refused a deal under which Mr Flosse was to quit his political posts in Tahiti for his son-in-law and deputy leader, Edouard Fritch, to be re-elected as assembly president tomorrow.

The new arrangement with the To Tatou Aia politicians will give Mr Temaru the support of 45 of the assembly's 57 members which will be the biggest majority in the legislature yet.

The two sides are yet to formalise their cooperation and deferred until next week the presentation of a new government line-up, the fourth administration since the last general election just over a year ago.

Mr Flosse and Mr Temaru were bitter political rivals until July 2007 when they reconciled, but in recent weeks splits emerged as Mr Flosse disagreed with Mr Temaru's policies to try to deal with the economic downturn.