[Documents menu]History of Polynesia
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 01:59:05 CDT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: NY Transfer News Collective <nyt@blythe.org>
Subject: Tahiti Independence Movement Gains/Greenleft Wkly

Tahiti independence party makes big gains

By Norm Dixon, in Green Left Weekly
#234 (6 May 1996)

The representation of Tahiti's leading independence party, Tavini Huiraatira (Polynesian Liberation Front), was significantly boosted following recent elections for the Territorial Assembly. While the pro-French forces led by Gaston Flosse still hold a majority, Tavini Huiraatira increased its seats from four to 11 to become the second largest party in the assembly.

The Tavini benefited from the defection of high-profile leaders of moderate pro-autonomy parties previously aligned with the Flosse administration. Oscar Temaru, leader of Tavini Huiraatira, told ABC radio's Indian Pacific on May 25 that "now there are just two main political forces in this country."

The French minister of overseas territories responded to the results by inviting Tavini's leaders to Paris for discussions on the territory's future. The French high commissioner in Papeete sent a message of congratulations to Tavini, the first time the French have officially recognised the independence movement's mass support.

Temaru said the voice of the independence movement will now be much stronger and the Tavini will work hard to be a vigorous opposition to the Flosse administration. He added that Tavini would demand greater control over Tahiti's marine resources which are heavily exploited by fishing fleets from Asia and Europe. The party also wants Tahiti to have more control over immigration. Because Tahiti is technically part of France and the EEC, Temaru explained, "anyone from any of the countries of Europe can come and establish themselves here" while native Tahitians suffer unemployment.

Temaru predicted that support for independence will continue to grow: "This is only the beginning. It will be an avalanche."

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