22 Oct 2004

French Polynesia faces two elections for president

2:15 pm on 22 October 2004

Both sides of a continuing power struggle in French Polynesia have called sessions of Parliament over the next few days to elect a new president for the territory.

There is continued uncertainty in the territory about which session of the Territorial Assembly -- one scheduled for tomorrow and the other for October the 25th -- is legal.

A court decision in Papeete yesterday was a partial victory for the new majority opposition headed by the former President, Gaston Flosse.

The court failed to resolve the matter, however, and it and further legal challenges brought by ousted president Oscar Temaru are to be decided by courts in France.

Two opposed groups -- the ousted coalition government and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira majority opposition -- are locked in a battle to control the Assembly.

A former MP, Loic Brigato, says it's a strange and unprecedented situation.

"There is really a crisis, an institutional crisis, this is clear. You have got a majority based on one voice and you've got theoretically two people ruling [so] they can call Parliament. This is something totally unique in the French legal historical framework, this is crazy."

Mr Temaru is a candidate for tomorrow's vote for president, but Loic Brigato says it is not yet clear whether he and his coalition MPs will attend.