23 Oct 2004

French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse retakes presidency

2:06 pm on 23 October 2004

French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, has been re-elected to the presidency.

Mr Flosse was unopposed when 29 of supporters returned him to the post he lost four months ago.

The Temaru coalition stayed away from the sitting because they regarded it as illegal.

Three candidates stepped forward for today's election, including two independents, John Aripari and Rene Hoffer.

After a brief suspension of the session, the two independents were struck off the list for failing to be eligible and scuffles broke out when Mr Hoffer was prevented from re-entering the assembly.

Mr Flosse says he will make quick progress in a number of government areas in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, a ruling is due in France's highest court the French within a day to decide whether the motion which ousted Mr Temaru was valid.

While being adamant that he is the legally elected president, Mr Flosse says will be a candidate in Monday's sitting called by the speaker.

Until then, the territory has two rival presidents.