28 Mar 2011

French Polynesia leader heads home to face no confidence motion

11:24 am on 28 March 2011

French Polynesia's president, Gaston Tong Sang, is cutting short his visit to Paris after the pro-independence opposition Union For Democracy lodged a no confidence motion in an attempt to oust his 15-month old government.

The motion cites as reasons for the challenge the territorys economic crisis, the dispute over the 2011 budget and the charges laid against Mr Tong Sang last week over the awarding of a telecommunications contract.

It is expected to be voted on this week, and if successful will make Oscar Temaru the new president.

Media reports say Mr Temaru's party is being backed by a group of outer island assembly members, with a Tahiti politician, Heifara Izal, hoped to give it the minimum 29 votes needed for a majority.

Mr Tong Sang has the support of only nine of the 57 assembly members.

Meanwhile, a businessman and self-declared president, Rene Hoffer, has asked the French supreme court to annul the motion because of several formal flaws.

The complaint notes that Mr Temaru has signed the motion and addressed it to himself as assembly president and adds that the motion refers to a change of the basic law which Mr Temaru had refused to inscribe in the official journal as prescribed by the process to make it valid.