23 Nov 2004

French Polynesian palace occupation continues despite Flosse's talk boycott threat

3:01 pm on 23 November 2004

A former French Polynesian MP says the crowd occupying the presidential palace in Papeete won't be leaving the premises despite a threat by the President Gaston Flosse that he won't join talks on the political crisis unless all occupations end.

All of French Polynesia's top political leaders are now in Paris ahead of tomorrow's government-sponsored roundtable talks aimed at breaking the deadlock prompted by the defection of one of the MPs to help oust the Oscar Temaru-led coalition government last month.

Key public offices occupied to press for fresh general elections have now been vacated but former MP, Sabrina Birk, says the lands department and the palace will be kept.

"We are still keeping the presidential place. The people come, every day we go there, we have our meetings in the morning at ten o'clock. The population is still living there like before on the mats and we are still there. We're still making the food there and we are occupying that place until the delegation comes back and then we'll see according to the decisions that would have been taken in France."

Sabrina Birk lost her seat along with 36 other MPs last week when the French supreme court annulled the result of the May election in the Tahiti/Moorea electorate.