3 Feb 2010

French President rules out changing French Polynesia's status

2:37 pm on 3 February 2010

France has dismissed suggestions to change the status of French Polynesia which has been a so-called country within the republic since 2004.

This comes amid plans by Paris to change the territory's electoral system for a fourth time since 2004 as part of its latest attempt to bring more political stability.

The overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, has told RFO television in Tahiti that as part of the reforms, there is no room for French Polynesia to have a vote on whether to become an associated state.

"Polynesia is in the same category as all other overseas territories and departments, apart from New Caledonia which has a peculiar status that requires such a consultation. The president has been very clear. He considers that all the territories are part of the French republic and he doesn't envisage - in the context of this question, to modify the constitution."

France allowed New Caledonia back on the UN decolonisation list in 1986 but has refused to do the same with French Polynesia.