17 Jan 2011

Fritch mooted as French Polynesia president in new deal

8:23 am on 17 January 2011

Reports from French Polynesia say pro-autonomy parties have discussed a proposal to reunite by making the vice-president, Edouard Fritch, the new head of government and moving the President, Gaston Tong Sang, to the post of assembly president.

This scenario has been confirmed to Tahitipresse by a Tahoeraa Huiraatira politician who was at the renewed and continuing cross-party talks called amid ongoing political unease and problems to adopt a budget.

The plan would also involve giving the vice-presidency to Jean-Christophe Bouissou, whose political grouping has been part of the pro-autonomy camp now seeking to form a new broad coalition until the 2013 election.

The discussions come less than a week after Paris warned it would exert direct control if the situation in the territory was at risk of ending in a shambles.

Mr Tong Sang has declined to say if he accepted such a demotion, pointing to his concerns that a new power-sharing deal would further discredit the political leadership.

There have been major disagreements over the planned 2011 budget, which has to be passed by the end of March to prevent the running of the territory's finances from being taken over by the French high commissioner.