15 Jan 2015

Rift deepens within ruling Tahiti party

9:09 am on 15 January 2015

A rift within French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira has deepened, with its leader accusing the territory's president, Edouard Fritch, of being a liar.

Edouard Fritch and Gaston Flosse in 2013

Edouard Fritch and Gaston Flosse in 2013 Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

Gaston Flosse, who was the president until a corruption conviction forced him out of office in September, made the accusation at a party gathering in Tahiti.

The public broadcaster says Mr Fritch was absent in part because the terms of a theft probe involving Flosse ban direct meetings between the two men.

Flosse and his partner have been charged with stealing dinner sets from the presidency when he was forced to quit - a charge he denies.

He alleges Mr Fritch has lied about his role in the affair becoming a police matter.

Flosse has also accused Mr Fritch of hatching a plan to side with the two opposition parties, one of which however supported Flosse's successful bid for an assembly resolution seeking France to pay compensation for its nuclear weapons tests.

The assembly move involved Flosse's presence in the backrooms, but as part of revised theft probe terms, he is now no longer allowed to set foot in the assembly premises.

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