FRENCH POLYNESIA LAWMAKERS APPROVE 2011 BUDGET

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President Tong Sang walks out on vote

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Feb. 21, 2011) - The opposition in French Polynesia has passed the 2011 budget with an overwhelming majority.

The vote by 43 of the assembly’s 57 members marked the first time that a budget was approved in the absence of and against the will of the president and a finance minister.

Before the vote, the President, Gaston Tong Sang, left the assembly claiming he was to take responsibility for the running of the affairs in an apparent bid to block the process.

But the rival camp refused to give in to his demands for more time.

The opposition’s Tea Hirshon says it was too late for him to stop the budget process.

"What we did was to adopt the budget as it was originally with the idea that we are going a few weeks later to have an additional budget."

The opposition parties then issued a joint statement, saying if Mr. Tong Sang objects to the assembly action he can challenge it in the Supreme Court in France.

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