19 Nov 2004

Petition for new election in French Polynesia has 43,000 signatures

8:46 am on 19 November 2004

The new speaker of the French Polynesian assembly says almost 43,000 voters have now signed a petition asking for the assembly to be dissolved and for new elections to be held.

Hiro Tefaarere says this is 28 per cent of all eligible voters.

Mr Tefaarere has succeeded Antony Geros after France's highest court annulled the election in May of 37 of the assembly's 57 MPs because of irregularities.

The decision came amid calls by most political parties and the territory's main church for fresh elections.

The proposal has so far been rejected by the French president who is the only person authorised to dissolve the assembly.

A petition signed by about 38,000 voters was taken to Paris last month, but under French law it was not deemed to be binding.