28 Oct 2013

New Caledonia issue seen as key in Paris silence about Tahiti referendum

4:38 pm on 28 October 2013

A French Polynesian pro-independence politician, Richard Tuheiava, says France's continued silence over a possible self-determination referendum may be due to the debate surrounding New Caledonia.

In May, the newly elected anti-independence majority in the territorial assembly in Tahiti formally asked Paris to organise such a plebiscite as soon as possible, but the French government has ignored the request.

It claimed such a vote, to be organised by France, would bury the independence bid once and for all.

Mr Tuheiava says as a territory to be decolonised, France is bound to involve the United Nations and also to consider the position of his camp.

He says Paris may simply be focussing on New Caledonia.

"The French know that the time frame for New Caledonia is starting next year, and France doesn't want the French Polynesia issue to interfere with the New Caledonia issue. This is probably one of the main reasons why silence is still kept on our case at the national level."

A French Polynesian pro-independence politician, Richard Tuheiava.