2 Mar 2011

Tong Sang names Alpha as new French Polynesia vice-president

11:06 am on 2 March 2011

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, has named Tearii Alpha as his new deputy after sacking Edouard Fritch and five other ministers amid a disagreement over the 2011 budget.

The dismissals were prompted by the ministers refusing to endorse Mr Tong Sang in the budget row with the opposition majority in the assembly which nearly two weeks ago passed the document against his will.

The portfolios of the sacked ministers have now been reallocated to the members of the remaining team.

The economic reconversion minister, Teva Rohfritch, was sacked while he was 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.

He has expressed his indignation at the timing, saying it came as he was to hold talks with the French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard.

Mr Rohfritch says the sudden action will further damage French Polynesia's image in the eyes of France and the European Union.