24 Feb 2005

Oscar Temaru first official candidate in French Polynesian presidential election

3:35 pm on 24 February 2005

The leader of French Polynesia's Union For Democracy, Oscar Temaru, has formally lodged his candidacy for next week's presidential elections - the first name to be put forward.

This comes ten days after a by-election for Tahiti and Moorea deprived the Gaston Flosse-led government of its majority in the assembly.

Despite the election setback, the administration refused to resign and was ousted in a no confidence vote five days ago.

Mr Temaru appears to have increased his support in the assembly as a member of the rival Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, Jean-Alain Frebault, is set to join the Temaru coalition, swapping sides for the thrid time in nine months.

Mr Frebault has joined a meeting of the Union For Democracy and told RFO public radio that he is yet to make a decision.

"Even though no decision has been taken yet, we have been in contact with our political backers in the Marquesas to give them an update about the current discussions."

Nominations for next week's presidential election have to be filed by tonight.

The Tahoeraa, which has said it will also field a candidate, is due to convene its central committee later this afternoon.