PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


TAHITI ASSEMBLY VOTE BOYCOTTED

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Oceania Flash, Oct. 20) – French Polynesia's Legislative Assembly today failed to elect a new president, due to the lack of a quorum.

The sitting was boycotted by members of parliament from the Union for Democracy (UPLD) coalition, led by caretaker President Oscar Temaru.

Temaru, who came into power in June this year, was last week ousted in a motion of no confidence after some of his MPs caused a shift in the balance of power by supporting the ouster motion.

The Assembly sitting required a quorum of three-fifths of the 57 MPs, but only the 29 (23 from Tahoeraa Huiraatira, former President Gaston Flosse's party and six from a newly-formed group, called "Te Ara") were in attendance.

The remaining 28 MPs, from Temaru's UPLD, did not turn up.

The sitting has been adjourned and is expected to resume in three days, when a vote will then be possible with no quorum needed and a vote can be taken by a simple majority.

Following the vote of a motion of no confidence in Temaru, earlier this month, the Assembly is to convene within two weeks to elect a new Head for the French Pacific country.

Assembly Speaker Antony Géros (from Temaru's party) had last week refused the October 19 date, saying he preferred the October 25 for the election.

Flosse's side has since accused Géros of "delaying tactics" in choosing a date too close to the legal deadline.

But his third deputy Speaker, Lana Tetuanui (who is from Flosse's party), reconvened a sitting of the Assembly to fix the earlier date.

Géros has since contested the move, saying the sitting chaired by his third deputy was "illegal".

Earlier this week, Géros has brought the matter to France's highest administrative tribunal, the State Council.

The Council ruled on Tuesday that Géros's claim was rejected.

Temaru has since last week called twice on the French government to dissolve the Assembly and call for fresh elections saying this was the only way out of the current political deadlock.

His requests were rejected twice.

At the weekend, over twenty thousand people staged a "peaceful march" in the streets of the capital Pape'ete to call for the Assembly's dissolution.

Temaru said he had never seen so many people in the streets before.

The French opposition Socialist party had sent four of its MPs to support the march.

October 20, 2004

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