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PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (September 17, 2001 – Tahitipresse)---In an interview published Monday in the daily newspaper "La Dépêche de Tahiti," the former president of the government of French Polynesia, Alexandre Leontieff, announced that he will leave the Tavini Huiraatira No Te Ao Maohi independence party and withdraw from politics.

He says he stands now for "sovereignty" instead of "independence" and, leaving the political arena, now wants to work in an investment company.

Leontieff was head of the French Polynesia government from 1987 to 1991, a former member of the French National Assembly and a former member of the Assembly of French Polynesia.

The 53-year-old politician was for many years a member of the pro-autonomy Tahoeraa Huiraatira party of the current president, Gaston Flosse. He established his own "Te Tiarama" party at the end of the 1980's.

He later joined Oscar Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party and was elected to the Assembly of French Polynesia in 1996.

Involved in a number of corruption cases, Leontieff was jailed for several months at the end of 1999.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse. 

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