17 Sep 2010

Tahiti budget debate dominated by decolonisation demand

1:29 pm on 17 September 2010

The president of the French Polynesian assembly, Oscar Temaru, has seized today's planned budget debate to raise his policy to have the United Nations re-inscribe the territory on the decolonisation list.

The initiative stunned several pro-autonomy politicians who objected to being asked to position themselves on the decolonisation issue.

Mr Temaru says the territory is on the verge of a civil war, making a debate necessary on whether to stay in this neo-colonialism by France.

Mr Temaru said the people of French Polynesia were not consulted in 1947 when France removed the territory from the list, also questioning the calibre of democracy that saw France impose the last electoral reform in 2007 against the wish of an assembly majority.

The scheduled budget debate began only hours later, with the President, Gaston Tong Sang, outlining the territory's precarious financial situation.

The revival of the decolonisation debate follows last week's leak in Paris that France would consider a referendum on independence if reforms drawn up now won't end French Polynesia's political instability.