24 Jun 2005

French Polynesia opposition wary of New Caledonia-type path

3:35 pm on 24 June 2005

French Polynesia's opposition leader, Gaston Flosse, says he is awaiting clarifications from President Oscar Temaru after he suggested that people should be consulted in ten to 20 years just as is the case in New Caledonia.

According to a report by the Tahitipresse news agency, Mr Temaru, who is in Paris, made the comment after his first meeting with the new French overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin.

The comment refers to the provision in the Noumea accord which provides for a vote on New Caledonia's possible independence by 2018.

Mr Flosse says it is clear that Mr Temaru wants to lead the territory to independence.

Mr Flosse says he is strongly opposed to this idea of a vote on self-determination, adding that he believes France is also against it.

Earlier this month, Mr Flosse called for a referendum on independence - an idea which the ruling coalition rejected as irrelevant for the time being.