28 Dec 2006

Mixed reaction to election of new French Polynesia president

1:08 pm on 28 December 2006

There has been a mixed response in France to the election of Gaston Tong Sang as French Polynesia's president.

He is the third president to be chosen in less than two years.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"France's ruling UMP Party has welcomed the election victory of Mr Tong Sang as a symbol of the autonomy ideals defended by the veteran leader, Gaston Flosse. But the opposition Socialists say his election amounts to a takeover by force after blockades orchestrated by Flosse supporters. The Socialists implicate the top French leadership in Tahiti's political turmoil. This comes after the French government allowed two top politicians, Mr Flosse and Emile Vernaudon, to stay in the assembly despite being given suspended prison sentences for corruption this year. And a multi-million dollar fraud probe into the sale of Anuanuraro atoll with Mr Tong Sang as key suspect is still in limbo after he was briefly banned from meeting his party colleagues in the assembly."