2 Nov 2006

French Polynesian majority reportedly shaky

3:17 pm on 2 November 2006

Reports from French Polynesia say three MPs of the ruling coalition have gone into a retreat amid speculation that they may side with the opposition.

The Tahitipresse news agency says the three, who are from the outer islands and used to be part of the opposition camp, want to have time to reflect.

The agency says this comes after what were previously believed to be secret meetings involving the opposition politician, Emile Vernaudon, who was touted as a possible contender for the president's job last April.

At the time a planned no-confidence move failed because several outer island assembly members switched allegiance to the government.

The two members of the centrist Fetia Api party have said they won't back a push to oust the government.

The latest moves come after last week's occupation of the assembly and the presidential palace was broken up by French riot police.

The government says the action by strikers, former GIP intervention force members and some activists amounted to a failed attempted coup engineered by the opposition.