30 Nov 2004

Paris talks unable to find solution to French Polynesian political crisis

10:26 am on 30 November 2004

Activists demanding a dissolution of the French Polynesian assembly have resumed blockades of public buildings after talks in Paris aimed at ending the political crisis in Tahiti have collapsed.

The groups took over the government's printing shop among other key offices after the French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, abandoned the talks.

He took the decision after demonstrators refused to vacate the presidential palace by midday yesterday.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Mr Flosse's rivals have accused him of never wanting to get a negotiated settlement. Before their collapse, the Paris talks had reached a tentative agreement to have fresh general elections but with neither side being able to agree on a date. The deal steered clear of the term dissolution which has been demanded by almost all politcal parties in French Polynesia and the opposition in France. Mr Temaru wanted the polls as soon as possible but Mr Flosse proposed them for 2006. The minister in charge of overseas territories says the talks are only suspended and she says if the palace in Papeete is vacated the French state should take control of the complex until an election winner has been established."

Walter Zweifel

Meanwhile, a former French Polynesian MP, Sabrina Birk, says there is a sense of anger and disappointment in Tahiti that the talks have collapsed.

She says while occupations have resumed, there was march by women asking for the resignation of French politicians.

They asked Girardin to resign, they asked Jacques Chirac to resign, they asked Gaston Flosse to resign. There was a big walk of all the mamas and the women and the children this morning in front of the High Commission.