22 Aug 2007

French Polynesian opposition undecided over Paris talks

10:18 am on 22 August 2007

French Polynesia's opposition will decide today whether to join the Paris talks called by the French government to overcome the political impasse in Tahiti.

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, has had a series of meetings with French Polynesian political leaders to discuss proposed changes to the electoral system and calls for early elections.

The coalition of anti-independence parties has split, leaving President Gaston Tong Sang with insufficient support to pass a budget.

The opposition's Oscar Temaru is scheduled to have his meeting with Mr Estrosi tomorrow but is yet to say whether he will fly to Paris.

The opposition says Mr Temaru should be received by President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the broader statute that governs the relationship between France and its Pacific possession.

A spokesperson for the opposition, which wants early elections as soon as possible, says Mr Estrosi is expected in Tahiti within weeks to discuss the political way forward.