4 Jul 2003

French Polynesia backs autonomy package

9:28 am on 4 July 2003

The French Polynesian government has largely approved the law package which would make the French territory a so-called overseas country.

The ministers in Papeete say some amendments will be put to the French government to adjust the proposed partial transfer of authority from Paris to Tahiti.

The package was earlier approved by the ruling majority in the territorial assembly but the sitting was boycotted by the pro-independence opposition.

Its members took to the public gallery and broke out in nationalist song to show their opposition to the proposals put forward by President Gaston Flosse.

A spokesperson says the new statute is nothing but an illusion while others in the opposition say the urgency to pass the new autonomy package can in no way be justified .

Mr Flosse says he hopes the French government will complete the process by the end of the year.