7 May 2013

Defeated Temaru determined to pursue French Polynesia's decolonisation

8:17 pm on 7 May 2013

The leader of French Polynesia's Union For Democracy, Oscar Temaru, says he is determined to pursue the territory's decolonisation despite yesterday's election defeat.

His party won just under 30% of the vote, while the rival Tahoeraa Huiraatira came first with 45% support.

Walter Zweifel asked Mr Temaru how he explained such a resounding loss.

TEMARU: Well, it was easy to understand when you manage a country with economical recession and you have to try to solve social problems all around the country. We have been living in this country with France's financial support and an international economical recession. It was a very hard decision to manage this country. And the opposition has hammered on that, that we cannot solve the social problems in this country. No matter what you try and explain to the people, how the economy of this country is really in bad shape. So that's how I explain the result we got.

ZWEIFEL: Do you take any responsibility for the decline that has happened? Some of your detractors say that you were reluctant to make decisions. How do you respond to that?

TEMARU: No, no, no. That's the argument used by the opposition.

ZWEIFEL: You said you're in financial trouble. To what extent is the assistance of France needed to keep the economy going?

TEMARU: Well, a lot of people are still dreaming that France will be behind Mr Flosse now, elected as the president of this country. At the same time we are telling to our people it is time to get rid of the French financial support. We have to stand on our own feet and develop our own resources. We are there, you know? That's the difference between us and the other parties.

ZWEIFEL: In the lead-up to the election, the campaign said you spent too much time on pursuing your decolonisation agenda. How do you respond to that claim?

TEMARU: At the same time, managing the country and going to New York, it's not easy. But that resolution is now in front of the General Secretary's office and we are waiting for the date to be tabled and discussed at the United Nations.

ZWEIFEL: You said in the lead-up to the election that if French Polynesia chooses a leader who has criminal convictions it would bring shame on to French Polynesia. Voters didn't buy that argument.

TEMARU: Yes, yes, yes. We are preparing a demonstration, maybe by the end of this week or next week sometime, to once again tell the media and the whole world that we do not accept a prisoner as president of this country.