25 Feb 2008

Ruling French party severs all ties with French Polynesia's Tahoeraa Huiraatira

2:56 pm on 25 February 2008

The ruling UMP Party in France has reacted to the surprise election of Gaston Flosse as French Polynesia's president by severing all ties to his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.

Mr Flosse's party secured less than twenty per cent of seats in the General Election.

Walter Zweifel has more

"The UMP has condemned what it calls Mr Flosse's personal strategy which it says went against the will of the voters and led to an unnatural alliance with the pro-independence Union For Democracy."

Mr Flosse refused to support the To Tatou Aia coalition's candidate for president, Gaston Tong Sang, and managed to win the support of the Union For Democracy. Although the UMP has cut ties to the Tahoeraa, Mr Flosse remains a UMP member of the French senate. The opposition Socalist party in France has described the events in Tahiti as a personal setback for the overseas territories minister, Christian Estrosi, who had urged the pro-autonomy politicians to rally around Mr Tong Sang. The Socialists say this amounted to colonial style interference in the election process and gave the impression that Mr Tong Sang was France's puppet. Meanwhile, the newly elected assembly president, Edouard Fritch, has announced that he will resign once a government has been formed, paving the way for the possible appointment of a Union For Democracy politician.