30 Oct 2003

French Polynesia autonomy statute before French senate

4:20 pm on 30 October 2003

The new autonomy statute for French Polynesia has been passed for debate to the French senate after its approval last week by the French council of state.

The document on increased self-rule was submitted by the minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin.

The new statute, which will give the territory new powers in the running of its domestic affairs and international relations, defines French Polynesia as an overseas country of the republic.

The original text referred to it as an overseas country without reference to France.

If approved, the new statute will allow for the head of the government to be chosen from outside the ranks of the elected members of the legislature.

The territory's opposition says it's undemocratic as is a provision to allow the executive to make and pass laws.