25 Aug 2008

French Polynesia's Aia Api party demands government re-shuffle

11:10 am on 25 August 2008

French Polynesia's Aia Api party has demanded a government re-shuffle and that two ministers be replaced this week to again reflect its strength in the nine-party To Tatou Aia coalition.

The party leader, Emile Vernaudon, says the two Aia Api members put into the government when it was formed four months ago no longer reflect its values.

He says he expects a decision by the middle of the week after the council of ministers has met.

Mr Vernaudon has also announced that the party will decide next weekend whether to field a candidate in next month's French senate election.

This comes after he stayed from the To Tatou Aia gathering which chose President Gaston Tong Sang and Beatrice Vernaudon as the coalition's candidates for the two Paris posts.

Despite his warning, Mr Vernaudon says he is not in touch with the

opposition which intermittently warns that it will lodge a motion of no confidence as the Tong Sang government has only a one-member majority in the assembly.

The Aia Api members helped pass the budget this month after Mr Vernaudon forced the government to approve a land deal by briefly withdrawing his party's support.