16 Jun 2005

French Polynesian MP dismisses independence vote idea

1:39 pm on 16 June 2005

An assembly member of French Polynesia's ruling coalition, Sabrina Birk, has dismissed the latest call for an independence referendum as a move to discredit the government.

The former president, Gaston Flosse, has again floated the idea of a plebiscite although there is no provision for the territory's statute to hold such a vote.

He made the proposal in Paris and called on the Oscar Temaru-led government to back such a vote to signal its long-term intentions.

Ms Birk says Mr Flosse's move is akin to him playing a game of chess after he lost two elections within a year.

"They voted for change, they don't want Gaston Flosse any more and that is clear but there is a big gap between Gaston Flosse out and wanting independence."

Sabrina Birk of French Polynesia's Union For Democracy