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French Polynesia to have more autonomy

Published on 15/01/2004

PARIS, Jan 15 (AFP) - The French National Assembly approved, in a preliminary vote overnight Wednesday, moves to increase autonomy for French Polynesia.

The legal reforms were the subject of two days of lively debate in France’s lower house of parliament. The bill, which passed its first reading overnight, is opposed by those on the Left, who claim the text of the law changes have been tailor-made for the Pacific archipelago’s Territorial President Gaston Flosse, a member of French President Jacques Chirac’s Union for the Presidential Majority party (UMP). Opponents argue that the moves could lead towards a quasi-monarchy.

One article of the text, all of which must be further debated and voted on in both chambers of parliament before becoming law, would allow French Polynesia “to govern itself freely and democratically with elected representatives and through local referendums”.

The changes would, to a great extent, transfer to the local authorities powers in a number of areas; notably civil rights and employment and tax laws – allowing positive discrimination for native residents.


                                Subject: France news