20 Oct 2004

Debate on French Polynesia crisis continues

2:33 pm on 20 October 2004

French Polynesia's assembly has met briefly in a bid to elect a new territorial president, only hours after France's highest court approved the sitting.

But the meeting failed for want of a quorum and a new session is now scheduled in three days.

A Papeete court is now due to rule on a complaint by the speaker that this morning's meeting was not lawfully called.

In Paris, there has been continued debate in the parliament about developments in French Polynesia.

An MP of President Jacques Chirac's UMP has described the Socialists of being irresponsible in their support of the ousted administration in Tahiti.

The MP, Bernard Accoyer, says the Socialist put into question the territory's institutions which he says work.

The Socialists claim that there was high level corruption in the territory under President Gaston Flosse and have now asked for a parliamentary inquiry into the use of French public funds by the Flosse administration.

A Communist MP from La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, Huguette Bello, says France's refusal to hold fresh general elections in French Polynesia amounts to a denial of democracy.

She says what happens there is important because the French state is diverting the people's will.