19 Jul 2007

French Polynesia's ruling party in apparent split

1:42 pm on 19 July 2007

French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira appears to have spilt as its secretary general, Bruno Sandras, has announced that it has quit the majority in the assembly.

The government is run by a Tahoeraa politician, Gaston Tong Sang, but Mr Sandras has now announced the party's decision to withdraw its backing of the assembly majority.

Mr Sandras told a local newspaper that a letter has been sent to Mr Tong Sang to explain the reasons for the move.

For the time being, the ministers linked to the Tahoeraa faction represented by Mr Sandras have not broken away.

Yesterday, Mr Tong Sang was quoted as saying that he would accept being excluded from the party but added that he has not betrayed it.

Mr Tong Sang was elected in December after the defection of outer island assembly members to the Tahoeraa side.

But they only supported a change of government if the Tahoeraa president, Gaston Flosse, would not become the head of government.