21 Oct 2004

Former French Polynesia leader seeks to overturn censure motion

8:34 am on 21 October 2004

The ousted French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has lodged a case on three counts in a Papeete court, demanding the suspension and cancellation of the motion of no confidence, which a majority of MPs approved ten days ago.

Mr Temaru says the motion put to the vote was signed by only six MPs when 12 should have signed it, making it therefore invalid.

He also says there was an attempt to influence the vote when the opposition's Gaston Flosse claimed he was to assassinated by a man carrying a knife who was overpowered by guards.

The third point refers to the French high commissioner advising the assembly speaker in writing during the debate that he had to close the sitting before the end of the day.

Mr Temaru's move coincides with the local court deferring a decision by 24 hours on a complaint by the assembly president that his third vice president and the French high commissioner had no right to call an assembly meeting for fresh presidential elections.

Meanwhile, judicial sources in France have disclosed that Mr Flosse has been under investigation since last October for alleged abuse of public funds.

In an immediate reaction, Mr Flosse has confirmed that his office was paying about 100 people although they neither worked for him nor his party.

The sources, quoted in the French press, say church leaders, unionists, journalists and several former Miss Tahiti were being paid US$4,000 a month without doing any work.