17 Jun 2005

France reportedly shelves bill to roll back autonomy provisions in overseas territories

1:16 pm on 17 June 2005

French Polynesia's former president, Gaston Flosse, says the proposed French law to review the autonomy provisions of overseas territories has been deferred.

The bill was drawn up by the former French minister in charge of overseas territories for debate next week but its release caused an outcry,

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, described the bill as a joke that could throw the territory back by 40 years.

The bill provides for a strengthening of the French high commissioner's position, a year after the French parliament extended French Polynesia's autonomy statute.

Speaking on French Polynesian television, Mr Flosse said he had discussed the bill with the new overseas territories minister, Francois Barois, who assured him it was shelved.

"He has decided to defer this law and to embark on a very large consultation with all parliamentarians."

Gaston Flosse.

Members of his party have also spoken out against the bill