25 Mar 2011

French Polynesia pro-independence party rejects electoral reform plan

3:54 pm on 25 March 2011

French Polynesia's pro-independence Union For Democracy has roundly rejected the latest French proposal to change the electoral system in a bid by Paris to increase the territory's political stability.

The proposed change, which is the fourth since 2004, was made by the minister for overseas territories, Marie-Luce Penchard, and is to be in place for the 2013 election.

It proposes that the threshhold for a no confidence motion to succeed be raised to 60 percent of assembly members voting for it.

The Union For Democracy says the new proposed electoral boundaries are devised to eliminate the pro-independence party from the political scene.

It says the curbs imposed on the executive amount to a loss of autonomy, likening them to a return to the days of the French governors.

It says it will formally vote against the proposal, adding that it has no illusions about what Paris will do.

The ruling To Tatou Aia Party has said it will vote for the proposal while the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party has described the changes as a great leap backward that does away with the autonomy gained since 1984.

The last change to the electoral system was adopted by Paris despite 44 out of the assembly's 57 members voting against it.