Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Politician with ties to France's conservative ruling party elected president of French Polynesia

Politician with ties to France's conservative ruling party elected president of French Polynesia

Gaston Tong Sang, a politician aligned with France's conservative ruling party, was elected president of French Polynesia by the territory's parliamentary assembly.
Tong Sang, the mayor of Bora Bora, was elected Tuesday by a vote of 31 to 26. He beat out independence-minded Oscar Temaru, who was ousted by a vote of no confidence earlier this month.
French Polynesia's new leader is the fifth president in less than three years in the Pacific archipelago, which has flip-flopped between pro-independence leader Temaru and politicians close to the UMP, French President Jacques Chirac's party.
The territory of 121 islands and 240,000 people already has autonomy from France, and Tong Sang believes autonomy _ not independence _ is the best solution. Tong Sang, 57, is a member of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party founded by Gaston Flosse, longtime leader of French Polynesia. He has five days to put together a government.
Until recent years, politics in French Polynesia were largely stable. Flosse, who is close to Chirac, held the presidency for most of the 20-year period from 1984 to 2004.
The political calm of the Flosse era was shattered when Temaru's party unexpectedly dominated elections in 2004. Temaru was later ousted in a no-confidence vote and replaced by Flosse _ who lost a no-confidence motion himself in February 2005, returning power to Temaru.
Temaru, who founded a pro-independence party in 1977, has often criticized France, saying it has "colonialist policies." Opponents accused him of stoking social tension and worrying investors.
During a visit to France this summer, Temaru accused Paris of failing to fully fund the territory. He also asked for a meeting with Chirac, then failed to show up. Temaru's office said there was a "communication error," but officials at the Elysee Palace were stunned by his no-show.
The latest no-confidence vote against Temaru was launched this month. A vote on a new leader was originally scheduled for Dec. 21, but parliamentarians failed to reach a quorum, and the vote was postponed until Tuesday.


Updated : 2021-06-22 21:33 GMT+08:00