12 Feb 2009

French Polynesia's assembly opens to elect a new president

10:33 am on 12 February 2009

French Polynesia's assembly has opened its sitting to elect a new president following last weekend's resignation of Gaston Tong Sang.

It is the third presidential in less than year after France ordered an early general election under a new electoral system in a bid to increase political stability.

Four candidates are contesting the presidency, including Mr Tong Sang, who resigned last weekend to trigger today's election.

The three other candidates are Oscar Temaru, Edouard Fritch and Sandra Levy Agami, who last December quit Mr Tong Sang's coalition to deprive the government of its majority.

Mr Tong Sang had come to power last April after two assembly members defected to his side just weeks into a five-year assembly term to help him oust the government led by Gaston Flosse.