NEW NAME FOR FRENCH POLYNESIA UNLIKELY

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Proposed referendum on ‘Maohi Nui’ name called ‘unconstitutional’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 5, 2011) – The French High Commission in Tahiti says any name change of French Polynesia has to be done in line with the constitution.

The statement comes after the territory’s president, Oscar Temaru, said a referendum would be held this weekend on whether to change the name to Maohi Nui.

The plan for a vote is linked to his Tavini Huiraatira Party organizing a primary election on behalf of the French Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party has distanced itself from the name change plan and legal experts say the process is unconstitutional.

Temaru upset loyalists in French Polynesia last month when he referred to his territory as Maohi Nui while addressing the Pacific Islands Forum in his decolonization campaign.

[PIR editor's note: Temaru and Opposition leader Edouard Fritch discussed name changes for the French-controlled territory in 2009, suggesting either Tahiti Nui or Maohi Nui to be the new designation for French Polynesia.]

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