TAHITI POLITICAL PARTIES OPPOSE FRENCH REFORM PLANS

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 4) – There is more resistance in French Polynesia to French plans to reform the political system under urgency for fresh elections to be held in Tahiti in January.

The small No Oe e Te Nunaa party has joined the two biggest parties in having reservations about the process, saying changes to the organic law should not be made before a new assembly has been chosen.

The party’s leader, Nicole Bouteau, says the French minister in charge of overseas territories didn’t hold a round table discussion with all parties as promised.

The minister, Christian Estrosi, held bilateral talks with a series of party leaders except Oscar Temaru who declined the invitation for the Paris meetings.

The Tahoeraa Huiraatira and the ruling Union For Democracy are opposed to the French plan to shorten the five-year term of the current assembly and to hold fresh elections in two rounds of voting in January.

The assembly in Tahiti is only consulted but all decisions rest with Paris, which plans to push through the reforms within the next month.

A related Radio New Zealand International story reports that French Polynesia’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party says it will formally oppose the French reform plan for the territory, which is likely to be adopted in Paris under urgency by early next month.

The reform involves shortening the five-year term of the current assembly and fresh elections in two rounds of voting in January in a bid to increase political stability.

A Tahoeraa assembly member, Armelle Merceron, says the project is a step back and could see the territory lose some its powers.

She says her party is opposed to the low threshold for parties to qualify for the second round of the election, which she says should not be held before May.

The ruling Union For Democracy is also set to formally oppose the changes when the French Polynesian assembly concludes its consultation.

The reform excludes provisions to ban party hopping, which resulted in four no confidence motions succeeding in the past three years.

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