16 Jun 2005

French Polynesian presidency dismisses independence question as provocation

1:31 pm on 16 June 2005

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has declined to comment on the call by his predecessor, Gaston Flosse, to seek a referendum on independence from France.

Mr Temaru's advisor on diplomatic affairs, Manuel Terai, has described the proposal as sheer provocation by someone who continues to behave as if he was still the president of the country.

Mr Flosse, who lost the presidency twice within a year, made the call from Paris where he met the new minister in charge of overseas territories.

He said Mr Temaru has to declare his intentions about possible independence although Mr Temaru has repeatedly stated that such a move is not on the agenda for years.

Mr Flosse, who has been advocating autonomy within the French republic, described his last election loss as a vote for autonomy.