9 Apr 2007

Growing dissent within leadership of French Polynesia's dominant party

11:35 am on 9 April 2007

The leader of French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, Gaston Flosse, has publicly distanced himself from the territory's President, Gaston Tong Sang, who also belongs to his party.

Mr Flosse has told local journalists that the deal signed among anti-independence politicians in December to oust the Oscar Temaru-led government is now void.

Several outer island assembly members agreed to defect from the Temaru camp on condition that Mr Flosse not be chosen as president.

Mr Flosse now says the current administration is not a Tahoeraa government although Mr Tong Sang is a Tahoeraa member.

"But he was imposed on us by the islanders. We accepted all of that to get rid of Oscar Temaru and now there is no more talk about independence because that would be a catastrophe for this country."

Gaston Flosse.

There is tension in the anti-independence camp ahead of this week's election of an assembly president, with Mr Flosse pushing the candidacy of his son-in-law, Edouard Fritch.