12 Oct 2004

French Polynesia faced with impasse over legality of no-confidence vote

7:43 pm on 12 October 2004

The French high commissioner in French Polynesia has asked the speaker of the territorial assembly to set a date for fresh presidential elections.

In a letter, Michel Mathieu has advised Antony Geros to set out, without delay, the path for the election following last weekend's vote which led to the collapse of the Oscar Temaru-led government.

Mr Geros has met leaders of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira party but the talks failed to yield a date.

Meanwhile, controversy has erupted over the weekend no confidence vote.

It has now been noted that the opposition approved only the first of two motions - the one submitted by a group calling itself Te Ara.

That document had been signed by only six MPs instead of the legally required 12.

The opposition says the speaker should have ruled that the motion was not valid and not allowed a vote on it.

The French high commissioner says the deputy speaker may be called upon to set the date for the presidential election which by law has to be held within two weeks of the fall of the government.

The ousted administration wants fresh general elections but the French government has rejected the request.

Supporters of the ousted government also plan demonstrations over the next few days.