Temaru: 2023 election will be referendum on French Polynesian independence

12:51 pm on 21 December 2022
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The leader of French Polynesia's Tavini Huiraatira party, Oscar Temaru, says he'll treat next year's election as if it was an independence referendum.

Temaru said if his party wins the territorial election in April by a large margin, he questions the point in holding a vote on independence from France.

He said in case of such a victory he will visit neighbouring Pacific countries and the United Nations to secure support for French Polynesia's sovereignty.

Temaru said Kosovo and Vanuatu became independent countries without a referendum.

In the last territorial election in 2018, the Tavini won less than 20 percent of the seats, but in the French National Assembly election in June, it secured all three of French Polynesia's seats in the run-off round.

His party colleague Moetai Brotherson, who holds one of the French seats, has questioned Temaru's stance, saying a local election should not be mixed up with a decolonisation process under the auspices of the United Nations.

In 2013, the UN General Assembly re-inscribed the French territory on its decolonisation list, but Paris has rejected the decision and keeps boycotting the annual decolonisation committee's debate on French Polynesia.

While France cooperates with the UN on the decolonisation of New Caledonia, the French government has ignored calls by the Tavini to invite the UN to assess the territory's situation.