20 Feb 2008

French Polynesian presidential election brought forward to this weekend

4:57 pm on 20 February 2008

French Polynesia's assembly is now expected to elect a new president in three days after it was earlier planned to hold that election next week or early March.

The change has been agreed by the three party groupings elected in last week's early general election.

The assembly is due to meet tomorrow to elect an assembly president amid a failure so far to find a majority.

There are reports of lobbying to trigger defections but those alleged to offer inducements deny making such advances.

In the election, the To Tatou Aia coalition fell short of winning an absolute majority and failed in talks with the Tahoeraa Huiraatira to lock in a majority despite a French appeal for reconciliation.

There is speculation that the Tahoeraa could strike an arrangement with the mainly pro-independence Union For Democracy that would block To Tatou Aia from assuming power.