19 Oct 2010

Penchard critical of state of democracy in French Polynesia

6:12 pm on 19 October 2010

The French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, has wrapped up her visit to French Polynesia, saying it may stir quite some debate.

After facing broad criticism for her plans for fresh electoral reforms, Mrs Penchard said that Paris would not revisit the idea of trying to find a stable majority in the assembly.

In an interview with Tahiti's La Depeche newspaper touching on the political instability, she said the territory was in a crisis and has enormous needs.

Mrs Penchard says since 2007 nobody fully understands what is going on as attention in Tahiti is directed on how to oust the government as soon as a majority has been found.

She says if France doesn't act in a local political crisis Paris is asked to so, and if Paris acts, it stands accused on interference.

Mrs Penchard says in French Polynesia, democracy no longer works and it is at risk because nobody is responsible any more.

She says she hopes the reforms will be discussed by the French government before the end of the year and debated in the legislature early next year.

The plan envisages a smaller assembly, two different voting systems for the territory split into two, and a higher hurdle to pass a no confidence motion.