By Walter Zweifel
Politicians in French Polynesia have reacted with scorn over the ruling party’s hastily-convened 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 Édouard Fritch’s Tapura Huira’atira 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 Huira’atira, which won most votes in the first round a week ago.
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The Tavini’s Moetai Brotherson, who wants to succeed Fritch in the top job, derided the arrangement, saying that 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 admission in 2018 that he had lied about the French weapons tests.
The Greens’ Jacky Bryant said that the hasty deal was serious as this way of doing politics contributed to voter apathy.
Coup for Fritch, Flosse?
He said Fritch and Flosse must “feel horror” if they believed they could be a uniting force, in particular since Flosse for years “vomited” over the Tapura.
Tauhiti Nena of Hau Māohi 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 win.
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.