16 May 2005

French Polyensia's ruling party for conscience vote on Europe

7:34 pm on 16 May 2005

French Polynesia's ruling Union For Democracy has defied calls by the French establishment to back the European constitution which will be put to a referendum in less than two weeks.

The territory's president, Oscar Temaru, says there are varied views within the coalition on whether to back the constitution which means that for his supporters the referendum will be a conscience vote.

When asked by the local media, Mr Temaru declined to give his personal preference.

The French Socialist Party leadership which has backed the Temaru coalition wants Tahitians to vote yes.

The French President, Jacques Chiras, has been campaigning strongly for a yes and all other parties in French Polynesia are for the constitution.

In New Caledonia, the pro-independence Palika Party has called on its supporters to abstain.