31 May 2010

Temaru's independence call causes dismay in French Polynesia

7:14 am on 31 May 2010

French Polynesia's ruling To Tatou Aia Party has reacted with dismay at the opposition's Oscar Temaru restating his intention to move to independence at the earliest time possible.

Mr Temaru made his plans known again on arrival in Tahiti after telling reporters in New Caledonia ten days ago that he would declare independence if he won the next election.

His call came after a UN decolonisation seminar in Noumea barred him and his delegation from attending because France refuses to recognise the Maohi people's right to self-determination and re-enlist French Polynesia for the UN decolonisation programme, which includes territories such as Tokelau, Guam and Pitcairn.

The To Tatou Aia's Robert Tanseau dismissed Mr Temaru's stance, saying he may want Tahiti to be given the same status as Vanuatu, which is independent but has the lowest standard of living in the Pacific.

The Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, which claims to be in opposition but provides several government ministers, says Mr Temaru has become threat for the entire people.

In 2004 when Mr Temaru was elected President for the first time he said he wanted a vote on independence in maybe 15 years and if the economic situation permitted it.