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SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, Feb. 28) – French Polynesia's President Oscar Temaru this week will celebrate the first anniversary of his election, on March 3, 2005, to the helm of the French Pacific country.

Temaru was returned to power last year after a four-month absence between June and October 2004, and a protracted tug of war with his long-time opponent, Gaston Flosse, who had ruled French Polynesia for most of the to previous decades.

Last year, Temaru's election was a direct result of by-elections in the main constituency of French Polynesia, which triggered a shift within the local legislative assembly.

For the past twelve months, Temaru has had to face strong opposition from the Flosse-created Intervention Group of Polynesia (GIP), which blockaded key access points and the wharf of the Tahiti capital of Pape'ete.

The group was eventually disbanded last month and most of its staff was reintegrated in other parts of the local public force.

The former GIP men are, however, still opposing the appointment of a new head.

On the economic front, since December, the Temaru government’s first budget has been referred by French High Commissioner Anne Boquet to a panel of French auditors in Pape'ete, who ruled last week that some parts of the appropriation act had to be revised, especially on the income side of the balance.

The local government now has to comply with the auditors' recommendations within one month.

Late last year, Temaru also had to back down on a solidarity project that was strongly opposed by local companies.

The government had to fall back on an increase in alcohol and tobacco taxes.

Meanwhile, latest available figures have shown that during the 2005 financial year, taxes have cashed in an excess of the equivalent of twenty to thirty million U.S. dollars, the daily newspaper La Dépêche de Tahiti reports.

March 1, 2006

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