20 Aug 2011

Challenge mooted over Tahiti decolonisation vote

8:41 am on 20 August 2011

A French Polynesian opposition politician says there may be a challenge to the vote which approved a resolution asking the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to reinscribe French Polynesia on the UN decolonisation list.

Gaston Tong Sang has told local television that there is reason to challenge the process because the outcome cannot be verified as the vote was done by raised hands.

He also says the majority lacks legitimacy.

According to the assembly president, 30 voted for the resolution, 26 against and one assembly member abstained.

One member of the pro-autonomy camp, Heifara Izal, who voted for the resolution, has been expelled from the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.

The resolution is to be sent to the United Nations and is expected to be presented to next month's Pacific Islands Forum.

In a heated debate, a leading opposition politician, Gaston Flosse, says the vote is in vain because France will send its foreign minister to the Forum in New Zealand next month to seek its solidarity with Paris against the decolonisation bid.

In the Pacific, France has only reinscribed New Caledonia on the list which the UN drew up after the Second World War.