10 Feb 2009

French Polynesian political impasse awaits court ruling

11:56 am on 10 February 2009

A Papeete court hearing is scheduled in French Polynesia this afternoon to help determine whether a no confidence vote will go ahead in two days.

The President Gaston Tong Sang resigned two days ago, saying there is no basis left to try to vote out his government.

He wants the court to force the assembly president, Oscar Temaru, to accept his resignation and notify the French high commission.

But Mr Temaru says the no confidence motion was lodged four days ago when there was still a government.

Under the changed conditions for a motion, it has to name a proposed new president, which is now Mr Temaru.

He has told RFO radio that by resigning, Mr Tong Sang has tried to obstruct the law, likening his move to a fraud.

If the vote goes ahead and the motion is approved, Mr Temaru will become the third head of government since last year's early general election called to increase the territory's political stability.

Earlier today, the three opposition leaders, Mr Temaru, Gaston Flosse and Jean-Christophe Bouissou, signed up to what they call the new government programme.