16 Jan 2008

French Polynesian opposition warns against Vanuatu style misery

2:15 pm on 16 January 2008

The main French Polynesian opposition party has again spoken out against independence from France, saying this cannot be imagined in the current economic situation.

A leading Tahoeraa Huiraatira candidate in this month's territorial assembly election, Armelle Merceron, has pointed at Vanuatu, which she says has been independent since 1980 but now lives in total misery.

Vanuatu was a colony jointly administered by France and Britain.

The ruling coalition's main party, Tavini Huiraatira, has been pushing for the territory's decolonisation.

The Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, says should his party win the election, it won't be ruling alone and will want to run a unity government with those wishing to serve the country.

Paris has ordered an early general election in two rounds of voting over the enxt month in a bid to increase political stability.

The last election was held in 2004 but the results in the Tahiti/Moorea constituency were annulled six months later because of voting irregularities.