13 Nov 2007

French Senate approves French Polynesia reform plan

10:00 am on 13 November 2007

The French Senate has approved a government plan for French Polynesia which provides for an early general election next year under a new electoral system.

The plan was approved by 198 to 128 votes.

The reform provides for two rounds of voting, with the first to be held on January the 27th.

The minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, says it's not conceivable to have a situation in a French territory where a government cannot last a full term.

Mr Estrosi says the people of French Polynesia no longer tolerate that and no longer understand that.

Although the objective is to create stability, no provision has been made to stop assembly members from party-hopping which was the key factor in the demise of recent governments.

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.