26 Aug 2010

French Polynesia leaders commit to Paris talks

7:05 pm on 26 August 2010

Leaders of French Polynesia's pro-autonomy parties say they have decided to accept a French invitation to go to Paris next month to discuss planned electoral reforms for French Polynesia.

This comes after the opposition Union For Democracy, led by Oscar Temaru, announced that it would stay away from the meeting, called by the French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard.

Following discussions in Tahiti on the opposition's snub, the President, Gaston Tong Sang, says he will go to France.

Gaston Flosse, the leader of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira, which has some members in government, also says he will go, adding there is now no longer any unanimity to boycott the talks.

Since 2004, Paris has changed Tahiti's electoral system under urgency three times but the modifications have failed to restore political stability.

The last change was pushed through despite the French Polynesian assembly voting overwhelmingly against the reform preceding the 2008 election.