French Polynesia's assembly has failed to pass a supplementary budget, raising the likelihood that the French high commission is about to assume control over the territory's finances.
The ruling To Tatou Aia coalition managed to secure only 19 votes - ten short of the minimum needed to pass the amendment to subsidise fuel costs and basic food items.
Walter Zweifel reports.
"President Gaston Tong Sang's Party says the budget vote has failed because of obscure reasons by its partners.The Tahoeraa has reneged on its support while the opposition's Oscar Temaru, who is the assembly president, has been travelling overseas for weeks. The disarray is such that Mr Tong Sang has signalled that he is prepared to resign if a way can be found to have a majority for the budget to be passed. The territory's economy is in an unprecedented crisis and hope is fading that the 2011 budget can be sealed to avoid ceding control to the French high commissioner. Mr Tong Sang has now left Papeete to attend Jacques Lafleur's funeral in Noumea and will then go to a Paris meeting of France's ruling UMP."