26 May 2004

Announcement due tomorrow on possible new French Polynesia coalition deal

9:33 am on 26 May 2004

Reports from Papeete say an announcement is expected on Thursday [NZ time] on a possible coalition deal which could confine French Polynesia's biggest party, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira led by Gaston Flosse, to the opposition ranks.

Delegates from No Oe E Te Nunaa and Fetia Api, which have each one seat, have held talks with the opposition group led by the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party of Oscar Temaru on a possible co-operation deal.

If the three sides find common ground on key policies, they could form a majority of one in the 57-member parliament elected this week and end Mr Flosse's 20-year rule.

The Tahitipresse news agency says a decision is expected to be reached tomorrow and made public a day later.

Talks today followed a shock setback by Mr Flosse's party in the Tahiti constituency where under a new electoral system just under 400 out of 80,000 votes made the difference between his party winning a crushing majority in parliament and losing its dominance of the assembly.