French Polynesia’s lands minister Teraii Alpha has become the new vice-president, replacing Teva Rohfritsch who resigned two weeks ago.

President Edouard Fritch announced the reshuffle, which also saw the number of ministers cut from 11 to ten as a means to save money.

Tea Frogier was dropped from the government.

Fritch appointed the head of the social welfare agency CPS, Yvonnick Raffin, as the new finance and economics minister to replace Rohfritsch.

Alpha was the vice-president a first time in 2011 when he replaced Fritch in the administration run by Gaston Tong Sang.

Rohfritsch resigned to run for one of the two French Senate seats which will be decided by a 728-strong electoral college in Papeete on 27 September.

One of 13 candidates, he is standing for the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party with one of the incumbents Lana Tetuanui.

The other incumbent Nuihau Laurey is running as an independent.

The veteran pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru, who is also standing for a Paris seat, said he would use his position to go to New York to accelerate decolonisation efforts.

The outcome of the last regular Senate election in Tahiti in 2014 was annulled after the courts found that a march of supporters of the then dominant Tahoeraa Huiraatira to the polling station on election day amounted to undue pressure on the electoral college.


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