14 Oct 2004

Ousted French Polynesian coalition says Tahoeraa election bid illegal

2:45 pm on 14 October 2004

The ousted government in French Polynesia says the opposition has failed in a bid to bring forward the date of the election, by Parliament, of a new president.

29 MPs supporting the Tahoeraa Huiraatira opposition met this morning and decided to hold a fresh presidential election in the Assembly on October the 19th.

The sitting was called by Lana Tetuanui who is the assembly's third vice president after being authorised by the French High Commissioner.

However, Claude Marere, who is the spokesperson for the ousted coalition president, Oscar Temaru, says the decision is illegal because it was taken without the consent of the president of the assembly, Antony Geros.

"It's not legal what the Tahoeraa has done to decide at a meeting at the assembly because he is the president, he can go to the judge because they took the power."

Mr Marere says the coalition also disputes whether the High Commission has the authority under the territory's new Autonomy Statute to bypass Mr Geros.

The ousted French Polynesian administration wants a fresh mandate from the voters and has called on France to allow for fresh general elections.

France has ruled out such an option.

But an MP of the French Greens, Noel Mamere, has told French radio that the way the French government is dealing with the situation in Tahiti reflects poorly on France.

We give the world a very poor image of our concept of the republic and democracy and it is a paradox that at a time when we want to teach a lesson to the whole world, Mr Chirac and his friend Mr Flosse and their mafia networks - it has to be said - behave in a way which is a vile and despicable and that has to be condemned.