27 Apr 2006

French Polynesia's Temaru again loses assembly majority

1:53 pm on 27 April 2006

French Polynesia's ruling Union For Democracy has again lost its majority in the territorial assembly after two new MPs confirmed at a news conference that they were still with the opposition's Tahoeraa Huiraatira.

The two MPs, Fabienne Bennett and Michel Teata, moved into the assembly to replace two opposition members who in last week's reshuffle had become ministers.

The two MPs say they won't join the ruling group despite having agreed to last week.

This reduces President Oscar Temaru's support to 28 members in the 57-member assembly, with two centrist politicians unlikely to side with the opposition camp.

The re-shuffle came after two ministers resigned as part of an opposition bid to unseat the government.

If the plan had succeeded, the opposition would have chosen as president Emile Vernaudon who this year was given a suspended prison sentence for corruption.