2 Mar 2011

French Polynesia's president sacks his deputy over 2011 budget

5:00 am on 2 March 2011

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, has sacked his deputy, Edouard Fritch, and five other ministers amid a disagreement with the majority opposition camp over the 2011 budget.

The decision has been reported by media in Tahiti.

The ministers sacked last night belong to the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, which had six members serving in government despite a lapsed coalition deal with Mr Tong Sang while the Tahoeraa's non-government members have been in the assembly's opposition.

Last month, the opposition, including the Tahoeraa and the pro-independence politicians, passed the budget against the will of Mr Tong Sang who insists that the action is invalid.

The French high commission in Tahiti has said the budget question is to be decided by the courts but the Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse, says the opposition majority will pass a law annulling any budget put forward by Mr Tong Sang.

The sackings also affect the economic reconversion minister, Teva Rohfritch, who is the head of the French Polynesian delegation to the European Union's meeting with the Overseas Countries and Territories Association being held in New Caledonia.