1 Apr 2005

French Polynesia's ruling coalition declares unity

6:08 pm on 1 April 2005

The 29 members of French Polynesia's ruling Union For Democracy in the territorial assembly have signed a joint statement to declare their unity and opposition to blackmail.

This follows a demand by the presidential intervention group, the GIP, for a new boss of its choice in the latest phase of a protracted dispute which has prompted the GIP to block access to Tahiti's main port.

The MPs say the action is aimed at destabilising the Oscar Temaru-led government to pave the way for a return to power of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse.

The statement says the French state is part of the plot as it refuses to clear the access to the port while being the only institution to have the authority and means to do so.

The parliamentary leader of the Union For Democracy, Antony Geros, says the French overseas territories minister has never accepted the change of government by describing Mr Temaru as an incompetent.

Last weekend, Mr Temaru gave in to a GIP demand and dropped Robert Maker as its boss after the GIP closed access to the port for three days and left Tahiti without petrol.

The standoff at the port forced the visiting New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff to abandon a planned trip to the facility.