Unofficial results from yesterday's first round of French Polynesia's early general election show the newly formed To Tatou Aia Party winning the biggest share of votes in the main electorates.
Its relative success reflects a major setback for the rival pro-autonomy party, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira.
Walter Zweifel reports.
"In the Winward islands which include Tahiti and Moorea, the To Tatou Aia party, which is led by a former president, Gaston Tong Sang, secured just under 35 percent of the votes. It narrowly defeated the Union For Democracy led by the pro-independence politician, Oscar Temaru, which won nearly 34 percent of the votes. In third place is the Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse which won just under 22 percent of the votes, with its stronghold Pirae having giving more votes to To Tatou Aia. The list supporting Mr Tong Sang in the Marquesas islands was the only one to win an absolute majority and secured two of the assembly's 57 seats, with the electorate's third seat going to the Tahoeraa. A second round of voting will be held on February the 10th to determine the remaining 54 seats. Mr Tong Sang, who was a longtime ally of Mr Flosse, formed his party four months ago after prolonged infighting within the Tahoeraa ranks and after Mr Flosse had supported the opposition to oust Mr Tong Sang from the presidency."