TEMARU OUT AFTER 4-MONTH STINT IN TAHITI

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Oct. 10 ) –After two days of defending its 118 days in office, the coalition government of French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru ceased to exist Saturday when Tahiti's parliament approved an opposition censure motion by a vote of 29-0.

The 57-seat French Polynesia Assembly vote, by opposition members only, was the required minimum absolute majority needed for a victory.

The 28 parliamentary members of Temaru's coalition left the hemicycle before the voting began.

The assembly voted on only one of two censure motions filed by two opposition groups last Tuesday. The first was filed by former President Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party. The second was filed by Te Ara, a new group of six assembly members. With one motion approved, a vote on the seconde motion was not necessary.

Assembly President Antony Géros adjourned the session immediately after announcing the official results of the vote.

However, even before Géros left his podium, Flosse tried in vain to have the session reopened to set a date for a vote to elect a new president of the French Polynesia government.

According to a revised statute governing relations between France and French Polynesia, the assembly has a minimum of five days and a maximum of 15 days to elect a new government president.

Assembly members of the Temaru coalition spent Friday and part of Saturday giving speeches defending the one-seat majority coalition that took office on June 14 following May 23 elections.

The rest of Saturday was spent with Temaru's government ministers delivering speeches defending their 118 days in office and promising new actions if they were allowed to continue.

Temaru gave the last speech of the evening, which turned out to be his last speech as president.

Thus, it will be at least another week before Tahiti has a new president, who could once again be Flosse - president for almost 20 years when Temaru took over in June.

Temaru's pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party formed a coalition to win 27 Assembly seats, and then formed a one-seat majority coalition with the leaders of two pro-autonomy parties.

But a defection from the Tavini Huiraatira party left Temaru with 28 seats.

Meanwhile, three members of Flosse's party joined up with three independent, non-affiliated Assembly members to create the minimum six seats required for an Assembly group.

The new group, Te Ara, became the second opposition group in the Assembly.

In a last ditch effort to avoid a vote on the censure motions, Temaru asked the French State to have the French president dissolve Tahiti's parliament so that new elections could be held.

But the French State rapidly replied Thursday, turning down Temaru's request, saying there was no justification for dissolution.

October 11, 2004

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

 

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