15 Jun 2004

Oscar Temaru elected as new President of French Polynesia

11:43 am on 15 June 2004

The French Polynesian Assembly has elected the leader of the pro-independence coalition, Oscar Temaru, as president.

He was the only candidate in this second attempt to elect the head of the territory, in a vote which required a simple majority.

Mr Temaru was not elected last week because there was no quorum after the new opposition party of the former president, Gaston Flosse staged a boycott.

This time the opposition abstained from voting.

In a speech prior to the election, Mr Temaru called on France to help draw up an accord which could lead the territory to independence in ten to twenty years.

Walter Zweifel listened to the address at the Assembly in Papeete:

"Mr Temaru has asked France to replicate what it has introduced in New Caledonia and draw up a formal agreement that guarantees the path to an independence vote. He has vowed to help the underpriviliged by raising the minimum wage and at the same time to cut the pay of politicians. Mr Temaru has also said he wants to introduce the Euro as the territory's new currency and phase out the fishing rights of foreign fleets. He has appealed for calm to avoid provocation by those who want to destabilise the new majority as it seeks to translate its ambitious plans into a new reality."

The new president has five days to form his government.