14 Jul 2008

Political squabbles continue in French Polynesia over candidates for French Senate

7:45 am on 14 July 2008

French Polynesia's ruling To Tatou Aia coalition has described the

Tahoeraa Huiraatira party as no longer standing for autonomy after the

Tahoeraa congress chose to contest the French senate election with the

pro-independence camp.

The Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, has been officially confirmed as a

candidate for the September contest which will be decided by an electoral

college of just under 700, made up of assembly members, mayors and local


Mr Flosse, who seeks re-election after holding the senate seat for 10 years, says the party is condemned to powerlessness unless it joins forces with Oscar Temaru's Union For Democracy which is yet to decide on a candidate.

This year and for the first time, French Polynesia can choose two senators.

Mr Flosse's associate, Edourad Fritch, has labelled the link-up between the two leaders as akin to the reconciliation in New Caledonia in the 1980's between Jacques Lafleur and Jean-Marie Tjibaou.

But a To Tatou Aia statement says Mr Flosse has been abandoned by France's UMP Party and been sanctioned at the ballot box three times.