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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Apr. 2) – The French government has formally approved the dissolution of French Polynesia's legislative assembly.

Minister for Overseas Territories Brigitte Girardin on Friday announced that new elections will take place on May 23.

Girardin said the dissolution was granted following a request from French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse in the wake of the the new ‘autonomy’ statute.

France recently approved a level of increased autonomy for French Polynesia that changed the region’s political status from "territory’ to "overseas country."

With the implementation of the 2004 statute, 57 members instead of 49 previously will be elected at the assembly of French Polynesia.

There will also be six constituencies instead of five.

The Minister for Overseas Territories stressed the fact that the "current MP's have been elected in May 2001 on the basis of the 1996 Autonomy statute" and that a similar dissolution already occurred in French Polynesia in 1985, following the implementation of the 1984 Autonomy statute.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders went, Friday, to the assembly of French Polynesia for a vote of censure only to find out that they did not have the quorum to do so. They said they would they would refer the dissolution' decision to the State Council in Paris.

April 7, 2004



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