10 Feb 2009

French Polynesia to hold fresh presidential election this week

5:45 pm on 10 February 2009

French Polynesia's assembly is expected to meet the day after tomorrow to elect a new president after the assembly president, Oscar Temaru, accepted last weekend's resignation of President Gaston Tong Sang.

Tahitipresse says Mr Temaru's call to reconvene the assembly still stands although the sitting had been organised to vote on a no confidence motion which named Mr Temaru as the next president.

But facing the motion and following the departure of five ministers, Mr Tong Sang stepped down.

Mr Temaru refused to accept the resignation, but did so when Mr Tong Sang sought a ruling in a Papeete court, which however said the matter was outside its competence.

Mr Temaru then reportedly tried to retract his decision, but failed to do so.

This week's presidential election will be the third since last year's early general election called by France to increase political stability.

The last coalition government lost its majority in December but was further weakened when the small Rautahi Party sided with the opposition last month.