13 Aug 2008

Political instability in Tahiti delays budget debate

1:52 pm on 13 August 2008

The French Polynesian budget debate has been delayed as the ruling To Tatou Aia coalition struggles to maintain a majority.

This morning's sitting failed to take place as President Tong Sang's camp keeps being riven by internal dissent.

One member, Hiro Tefaarere, briefly withdrew his proxy vote from To Tatou Aia and said he would form his own party.

Heifara Izal, who is the wife of the Aia Api leader, Emile Vernaudon, withdrew her support from To Tatou Aia after her husband was refused a land deal by the government.

But after the government relented, she restored To Tatou Aia's one-vote majority in the assembly.

This comes amid repeated threats by the oppposition that it could lodge a no confidence motion in the government formed four months ago.

Mr Tong Sang has told a local newspaper that he will do what he can, and if he cannot fulfill his mandate it won't be his fault.

The To Tatou Aia coalition is French Polynesia's partner of France's ruling UMP party.