13 Dec 2006

Calls for fresh elections in French Polynesia as no confidence vote looms

6:16 pm on 13 December 2006

There has been a call by the assembly president in French Polynesia to dissolve the territorial assembly as the government of Oscar Temaru is faced with a second no confidence motion in just over two years.

The assembly will meet tomorrow to discuss the opposition move and a vote is expected the day after.

This comes as two members of the ruling coalition have resigned.

There are also calls for a change to the electoral system which was introduced in 2004 at the behest of the then dominant Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party led by Gaston Flosse.

A key change was to introduce a bonus of a third of all seats which goes to the party winning most votes in an electorate.

The intention was to create a stable majority.

However, in a shock outcome of the 2004 election, the opposition coalition led by Mr Temaru narrowly won the Tahiti/Moorea vote and secured the 13 bonus seats to oust the Flosse government.

The electoral system can only be changed by the French legislature.

The power to dissolve the assembly rests with the President of France, Jacques Chirac.