5 Oct 2009

French Polynesia's Tong Sang hints at coalition collapse

7:48 am on 5 October 2009

The leader of French Polynesia's To Tatou Aia Party, Gaston Tong Sang, has hinted that his coalition with Oscar Temaru's political group is nearing its end, which has fuelled speculation that a no confidence motion is being drawn up.

This follows last week's defection of a group of outer island assembly members to the opposition in part in protest at Mr Temaru's decision last month to grant a licence to a foreign company to run a ferry service to the Leeward islands.

The Temaru camp has denounced the defectors as island barons who want to blackmail him in order to be given ministerial positions.

Mr Tong Sang has told the Nouvelles de Tahiti that such insults are a low blow and devoid of any consideration of the voters they represent.

He says Mr Temaru's recent comments about neocolonialism are also unacceptable, and while opting to stay, he says the situation cannot last

until the next elections due in four years.

The current coalition was formed six months ago and is the fourth government since last year's early general election.