11 Feb 2009

Ahead of tomorrow's French Polynesian presidential election opposition pact in doubt

7:50 pm on 11 February 2009

There is intense lobbying in French Polynesia ahead of tomorrow's scheduled election of a new president - the third such election since last February when voters chose a new assembly for a five-year term.

Candidates have to be nominated by midnight and observers say it is uncertain how many people will stand to replace Gaston Tong Sang who resigned last weekend in the face of a no confidence motion that has now been dropped.

But three days after that resignation it has been confirmed that Mr Tong Sang will run again.

Tahitipresse reports that the assembly coalition between Oscar Temaru's Union For Democracy and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira of Gaston Flosse has ended.

Mr Temaru will also be a candidate.

The Tahoeraa is now to form a separate group only two days after signing an opposition coalition deal aimed at forming the next government.

The Rautahi Party leader, Jean Christophe Bouissou, has also signalled he is to lead a separate assembly group.

Last week, the three parties signed a deal that would have made Mr Temaru the next president.

After last year's general election, Mr Flosse became president but was unseated weeks later when Mr Tong Sang was joined by two assembly members switching sides.

There have been calls for a new electoral system although France has changed it three times in less than five years.