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New electoral alliance serving up ‘same soup’

Monday 24 April 2023 | Written by RNZ | Published in French Polynesia, Regional

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New electoral alliance  serving up ‘same soup’
French Polynesia's President Edouard Fritch delivers a speech during the High Level Segment session of the One Ocean Summit, in Brest on February 11, 2022. Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/23042321

There has been scorn among politicians in French Polynesia over the ruling party's hastily-convened electoral alliance electoral alliance with an opposition party, which has been eliminated from the territorial elections after failing to reach the 12.5 percent threshold.

Under the deal, President Edouard Fritch's Tapura Huiraatira ceded four positions to Amuitahiraa on the list of candidates for next week's run-off round.

Fritch warned of chaos should his party lose power to the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira, which won most votes in last weekend's first round.

The Tavini's Moetai Brotherson, who wants to succeed Fritch in the top job, derided the arrangement saying Fritch and the Amuitahiraa leader Gaston Flosse were serving up the "same soup" by warning that white people would be chased away and independence would usher in misery if Tavini formed government.

Nuihau Laurey of A Here Ia Porinetia said while he also stood for continued autonomy, it was very hard to work with people who admitted that they had lied for 30 years, a reference to Fritch's admittance in 2018 that he lied about the French weapons tests.

The Greens' Jacky Bryant said what had just happened was serious as this type of doing politics contributed to voter apathy.

He said Fritch and Flosse must feel horror if they believed they could be a uniting force, in particular since Flosse for years "vomitted" on the Tapura.

Tauhiti Nena of Hau Maohi said it was a coup for Fritch and Flosse because if they managed to combine the two parties' support from the first round, they would be in for a victory.

In the first round of the territorial elections, Fritch's Tapura party came second, winning 30 percent of the votes against Tavini's 35 percent, with Amuitahiraa on 11 percent.

Flosse, who leads the party despite being ineligible because of corruption convictions, had been campaigning for French Polynesia becoming a sovereign state in association with France.

While in opposition, he claimed that Fritch was the worst president in the territory's history.

In the last elections in 2018, the Tapura won two thirds of all seats.