16 Apr 2012

French politicians in Tahiti ahead of weekend voting

6:25 am on 16 April 2012

The French finance minister, Francois Baroin, has addressed a rally in French Polynesia in support of the presidential election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy.

An estimated 4,000 pro-autonomy supporters turned out to hear the minister who used his 24-hour visit to warn against a possible Socialist election victory.

He said after the Socialists' success in 1981 there was double-digit inflation and a devaluation.

Mr Baroin has however appeared to have failed to win the crowd's backing for his UMP Party.

The local veteran politician Gaston Flosse says while he backs Mr Sarkozy there is no link between his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party and the UMP.

Also in French Polynesia, a former French overseas territories minister Jean Jacques Queyranne is rallying support for the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande for this weekend's first round of voting.