8 May 2008

Row over assembly opening deepens in French Polynesia

1:32 pm on 8 May 2008

French Polynesia's government assembly members have opened their own sitting of the legislature in a building separate from the assembly.

This comes after the assembly president, Oscar Temaru, refused a government request to open a sitting today.

Yesterday, he didn't open the session because the government side was one member short of a quorom.

He then called for a new meeting on May the 22nd.

But last night, President Gaston Tong Sang asked that the meeting be convened today.

After Mr Temaru had ignored the request, the government assembly members convened a meeting in a nearby building today and decided to let Philip Schyle act as assembly president.

The government had also said it would call on the French high commissioner to open the assembly in Mr Temaru's absence.

The French high commission is yet to act.

The situation is unprecedented and follows weeks of instability which failed to ease despite a general election less than three months ago.