8 Dec 2010

French Polynesia budget debate put off

2:35 pm on 8 December 2010

French Polynesia's assembly has failed to open today's budget debate because of a lack of a quorum.

The opposition was in the building but decided to stay away from the chamber, exposing the weakness of the government which lacks a majority.

Tomorrow the sitting is to go ahead irrespective of the number of assembly members present.

The government will have tomorrow's cabinet meeting at six in the morning to be able to join the assembly sitting.

The President, Gaston Tong Sang, is then expected to fly to New Caledonia to Jacques Lafleur's funeral before attending the Paris meeting of France's ruling UMP Party.

If the French Polynesian budget is not passed by the end of the year, the running of the territory's finances will be passed to the French high commissioner.

Last week, Mr Tong Sang said he would be prepared to resign if a way needs to be found to have a majority for the budget to be passed.