18 Nov 2003

French Polynesian president urges quick autoonomy approval

4:58 pm on 18 November 2003

The president of the French Polynesian government, Gaston Flosse, has called on the French parliament to deal with urgency with the proposed expansion of French Polynesia's autonomy.

Mr Flosse, who has flown to Paris to meet political leaders, says he wants the Senate to debate and approve the new autonomy statute within the four days of its meeting before Christmas.

He has the Tahitipresse news agency that this would allow for the statute to be voted on by the French legislature by January the 20th so that it can be forwarded to the constitutional council.

Mr Flosse says if the issue is being treated as urgent, the new autonomy statute could be ready by late February.

Opposition politicians have spoken out against many of the proposed changes, saying democracy will suffer as too much power will be vested in the presidency.