July 26, 2007

Polynesian Follies Yet Again

French Polynesia's politicos are at it again.

It seems the "autonomist" (pro-French) group obtained a few defectors and threw out pro-independence President Oscar Temaru. Part of the deal, however, was that the Ferdinand Marcos of Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, would not be put back in office. Instead, Gaston Tong Sang was made President.

Now there has been a falling-out between the Gastons. Five ministers resigned, and Gaston No. 1 has been meeting with Oscar to strike a deal, to the dismay of many. The deal might provide for an independence referendum some time in the future, say 2028, when Gaston No. 1 and Oscar will either be dead or won't know what country they are living in, anyway.

Gaston No. 1 was a pal of former French President Jacques Chirac, who has problems of his own (a criminal investigation, now that he no longer has immunity). The French have let it be known that the highest level of subsidy might depend upon the return of some degree of political stability.

The French in Polynesia are a distinctly unpleasant bunch, but they do subsidize the place. The independence dilemma is that without the subsidies, even with fewer duties and trade preferences for the métropole, the economic would go to hell in a handbasket. Hence the independence faction is for independence--but not quite yet.

Don't count Gaston-Ferdinand out until he's dead--with a stake through the heart.

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