WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, July 2) - The French Polynesian parliament is today due to begin a debate on a new autonomy status, which would make the French territory a so-called overseas country.

The change is the fourth since 1977 and would grant French Polynesia additional powers to run its international relations but also to protect the local labor market.

French news agency AFP reports that the government of Gaston Flosse wants to wrap up the debate of the proposed changes in four days by holding two votes.

But the opposition has threatened to boycott the assembly if not all 194 articles at stake are all discussed.

A spokesman for the Fetia Api party says each article is of significance because it will commit the territory for decades to come.

July 2, 2003

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