Big turnout for launch of political party in French Polynesia

6:59 pm on 22 February 2016

About 8,000 people in French Polynesia have attended the launch of a new pro-autonomy political party, led by the president Edouard Fritch.

French Polynesia president Edouard Fritch in Paris

French Polynesian President, Edouard Fritch Photo: supplied

The Tapura Huiraatira's inaugural congress in Tahiti formalised the merger of the group led by Mr Fritch and the Atia Porinetia party of Teva Rohfritsch, who is the new party's deputy leader.

The new party, which has a majority in the assembly, is the result of tension, rifts and expulsions within the once dominant Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse, which began shortly after he lost office two years ago.

The new party includes among its members both former Tahoeraa politicians and leaders of smaller but now defunct parties.

The party launch comes just before the visit of the French president, Francois Hollande.