Fritch slams Tahiti pro-independence wins for Paris as ‘catastrophic’

President Édouard Fritch
President Édouard Fritch ... French Polynesia is in the middle of an economic crisis. Image: RNZ

RNZ Pacific

French Polynesia’s President Édouard Fritch has described the election of three candidates of the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party to the French National Assembly as “catastrophic”.

They won all three seats in a run-off against candidates of his ruling Tapura Huiraatira party, which holds two-thirds of all seats in French Polynesia’s Assembly.

Fritch said French Polynesia was sending people to Paris who would talk about sovereignty, independence, and the United Nations while the territory was near the end of its means.

He said French Polynesia was in the middle of an economic crisis, making him wonder how he could work when the three were part of the opposition to President Émmanuel Macron’s bloc.

Fritch said Tavini’s independence plan lacks a roadmap and only offers something nebulous.

He said after the first round of the election, all the opposition forces turned against the Tapura, accusing the unsuccessful candidates of the other parties of hypocrisy.

Fritch should resign, says Temaru
French Polynesia’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru said after last weekend’s election defeat of the government candidates that President Fritch should resign.

Temaru’s Tavini Huiraatira party won French Polynesia’s three seats in the French National Assembly, defeating the three candidates of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira.

Mayor of Faa'a Oscar Temaru
Pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru … calls on territorial President Édouard Fritch to resign. Image: Tinfos 30

Temaru said in view of this result it would only be fair if he quit.

He said the weekend victory was a “historic moment” that should resonate beyond French Polynesia and showed that the Māohi people wanted to be recognised for who they were.

Temaru said, however, that in the current situation French Polynesia had neither the institutions nor the means to solve its problems, but with independence, it would have them.

He said for French President Émmanuel Macron, the election result in Tahiti would be a “cold shower”.

He also said independence would not be achieved tomorrow but at a time when people wanted it.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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