Tahiti Pro-Independence Leader Makes Bid For French Presidency

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Temaru seeks to draw attention to decolonization process

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 5, 2015) – French Polynesia's pro-independence opposition leader, Oscar Temaru, says he plans to make a bid for the French presidency next year.

Speaking on local television, Mr Temaru says he hopes to be able to secure enough support for a candidacy which would give him a national stage in France to draw attention to the decolonisation process.

He says this bid is not meant to try to win the election in France but to unite the territory's people who he says has been divided for years.

Mr Temaru says the challenge is to secure 500 backers for the candidacy as they have be found among elected representatives in at least 30 different departments or territories of France.

He says in his endevaour he plans to approach French Socialist leaders, including Francois Hollande, Segolene Royal and Christine Taubira, the justice minister who in 2005 campaigned for Mr Temaru in Tahiti.

His bid is also to coincide with next year's 40th anniversary of French Polynesian autonomy, which he says should be done away with.

Mr Temaru says decolonisation doesn't mean for France to return the odd hectare of land previously used by the French military but to give back the 5.5 million square kilometres taken by force and ruse.

Although French Polynesia was returned to the UN decolonisation list three years ago, France has all but ignored the decision.

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