31 May 2013

French Polynesia formally asks for independence referendum

1:33 pm on 31 May 2013

The French Polynesian assembly has adopted a resolution asking France to organise a referendum on the territory's self-determination.

The resolution was tabled by the ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira and approved by 46 votes in the newly elected 57-member assembly.

It was also backed by the opposition pro-autonomy A Tia Porinetia Party while the 11 members of the pro-independence Union For Democracy abstained.

The assembly vote came less than two weeks after the UN General Assembly re-inscribed French Polynesia on the UN decolonisation list.

The ruling majority says the world body defied the wish of the French Polynesian voters who this month elected politicians keen to maintain the current autonomy provisions with France.

The UN decision has been decried as a blatant interference into French affairs by both Paris and politicians in French Polynesia.

The Kingdom of Tahiti was annexed in 1880 but the islands have been granted increased autonomy, notably in 2004 when they became a so-called overseas country.