26 Oct 2007

France approves French Polynesian reform plan

10:46 am on 26 October 2007

The French government has formally approved the reform of French Polynesia's electoral system.

This will allow Paris to shorten the five-year term of the current French Polynesian assembly and hold new general elections early next year.

The electoral system will be changed for the second time this year although no polls have been held under the proportional system adopted under urgency in February.

The new system will provide for two rounds of voting.

Last month, a majority of assembly members in Tahiti voted against the planned reform although many of them had earlier called for elections to be brought forward.

The reform is aimed at increasing political stability but no provisions have been made to curb party-hopping which was a key reason for no confidence motions to be able to succeed.

The last general election was held in May 2004 but half a year later the French supreme court found that the poll was marred by irregularities and annulled the elections of 37 of the assembly's 57 members, prompting a by-election in January 2005.