Flosse government toppled

The Flosse government officially ceased to exist at 11:55 am Friday after the votes cast by only 30 of the Assembly’s 57 members were counted. Flosse’s party, which won 27 seats in Sunday’s by-election for the 37 Windward Islands seats, had no one present for the vote on the no confidence motion.

Thus, Flosse and Oscar Temaru, his political archrival for many years, are now even, each having toppled the other’s government once. Flosse toppled Temaru’s four-month-old government last Oct. 9 with a no confidence vote. Temaru did the same to Flosse Friday.

The only difference was the number of votes. Flosse got the absolute minimum majority of 29 votes for his no confidence motion against the Temaru government last year. This time, Temaru got 30 votes for his no confidence motion against Flosse.

All 30 Assembly members present voted for no confidence motion

Although the voting Friday was by secret ballot, the 30 Assembly members present for the vote all cast votes in favor of the no confidence motion. That included Temaru’s six-party Union for Democracy (UPLD) coalition of 28 Assembly members and the two leaders of the Alliance for a New Democracy (ADN).

Friday’s vote followed more than an hour of speeches by five persons, in a much more orderly and a far calmer atmosphere than the two days of speeches made by members of Temaru’s coalition last October prior to the vote toppling his government.

The Assembly’s members who voted Friday ignored Flosse’s last-ditch appeal Thursday night for the UPLD and the ADN to form a united government with his party.

One explanation given for the absence of Flosse party members for the no confidence motion vote was the potential influence of three votes cast in favor of Flosse’s resignation as government president during a party meeting Thursday afternoon. Those votes were cast by Jean-Christophe Bouissou, the Flosse government’s Labor, Social Dialog, Domestic Affairs and Civil Service and Communications Minister and the party’s secretary-general; Budget, Finance and Tax Reform Minister Georges Puchon and Small and Average Businesses, Industry, Commerce and Energy Minister Gaston Tong Sang.

Temaru defended no confidence motion with Sunday’s by-election results

Pro-independence party leader Temaru justified the no confidence motion Friday by citing the results of Sunday’s by-election. His coalition won slightly more than 6,000 more votes than Flosse’s party, although both groups ended up with 27 Assembly seats.

Flosse, one of his party’s two speakers Friday, defended his long record of governing Tahiti, which goes back 20 years with only two interruptions. Flosse claimed that his government had accomplished more for the people of French Polynesia in nearly four months than Temaru’s majority coalition had accomplished during the same period last year.

ADN leaders Nicole Bouteau and Philip Schyle also spoke Friday, announcing they intended to vote for the no confidence motion. However, both have previously insisted that they will not become part of Temaru’s coalition as they did following last year’s May 23 general elections for the Assembly.

The ADN leaders’ position leaves the Temaru coalition one vote shy of an absolute majority in the Assembly.

Now attention is focused on who will be Tahiti’s next president. Candidates have until midnight Feb. 23 to officially submit their candidacies to the Assembly, which is scheduled to vote on the new president on Feb. 28.

18 February 2005, Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf