30 May 2013

France asked to clarify Tahiti independence vote modality

3:40 pm on 30 May 2013

French Polynesia's pro-independence senator, Richard Tuheiava, has formally asked the French government which electoral provisions it plans to put in place for a possible referendum on self-determination.

A written question has been filed with the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, because the newly elected government in French Polynesia wants to hold such a plebiscite as soon as possible.

Its request has been sent to Paris but is to be formalised with a vote on a resolution in the territorial assembly this week.

This follows a decision by consensus at the UN to reinscribe French Polynesia on the UN decolonisation list.

The new government in Papeete says it wants all voters to be eligible while the pro-independence opposition wants the electorate to be restricted, with its leader, Oscar Temaru, suggesting that only those resident before 1966 be allowed to vote.

France changed the constitution in the case of New Caledonia, where a possible independence referendum is open to only long-term residents in line with a wish of the indigenous Kanaks.