27 Sep 2007

French minister rejects criticism of reforms for French Polynesia

9:32 am on 27 September 2007

The French minister in charge of overseas territories has reminded French Polynesia's political leaders that they were the ones to ask for early general elections.

Christian Estrosi made the comment after yesterday's criticism by the French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, who accused the French government of wanting to impose reforms in Tahiti.

Mr Estrosi says Mr Temaru has on many occasions called for the dissolution of the assembly and to let the voters choose.

Mr Temaru and his long-time rival, Gaston Flosse, joined forces to oust the previous President last month and while now commanding a solid majority in the assembly, they have rebuffed the French plan to shorten the assembly's term.

The French legislature is set to proceed with the electoral reform which is expected to see general elections to be held in French Polynesia under a new system in two rounds of voting in January.

Mr Estrosi says a month ago 70 percent of French Polynesians wanted elections as soon as possible.

He says he respects the leaders chosen by the Polynesians and at the same time he doesn't want them to betray the Polynesians.