Saturday, November 3, 2007

Paris sets Tahitian electoral crunch time for January

Tahitian President Oscar Temaru (pictured) isn't too happy about the timing, but France has confirmed that a snap general election will be held over two rounds in late January to sort out the territory's continuing governance issues. French Secretary of State for Overseas Christian Estrosi has indicated that the election would be held on January 27 with a run-off two weeks later on February 10. Patrick Antoine Decloitre reports in his Oceania Flash service, quoting Estrosi:
"In no case will I change course. Yes, at the end of January, after all the stages of consultation and democracy have been completed, the (French) Polynesians will be able to one again decide for themselves about their future and their own destiny", Estrosi said during speech during a function at the French High Commissioner's residence with over three thousand guests in attendance. Earlier this week, Estrosi addressed French Polynesia's legislative assembly in similar terms to justify his plans for electoral reforms and snap elections for the French Pacific territory. Meanwhile, French MPs in the National Assembly are to initiate the debate on Estrosi's Bills on November 22, French media reported on Thursday. The Bill is scheduled to be tabled for the first time before the French Senate (Upper House) on November 12 and before the French National Assembly (Lower House) by the end of November 2007.
Since newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed him in June 2007, Estrosi has embraced a hands-on approach to address a perceived spate of ongoing political instability in French Polynesia, for the past three years, which has already seen six Presidents come and go during that period, all of them ousted through motions of no confidence.

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