8 Jan 2009

French Polynesian talks over budget impasse collapse

2:29 pm on 8 January 2009

A fourth round of top level talks in French Polynesia has led to a collapse on discussions on a way out of the budget impasse.

The opposition's Gaston Flosse and Oscar Temaru met President Gaston Tong Sang this morning amid an expectation to work towards a unity budget as part of political moves to create a broadly based government.

But Mr Tong Sang has now called for his government's budget to be adopted first before resuming other aspects of the discussions.

Mr Flosse says the latest change by Mr Tong Sang spells the end of the top-level talks to find a way out of the impasse.

A month ago, Mr Tong Sang's ruling To Tatou Aia coalition lost its majority in the assembly when one of its members decided to pull out of the bloc.

This has left it with 28 seats, which is the same number the opposition has in the 57-member assembly.

The 2009 budget wasn't passed by the end of December and should the assembly fail to agree on a document by the end of March, the territory's running will revert to the French high commissioner.