14 Feb 2005

Huge crowds voting in by-election in French Polynesia

2:10 pm on 14 February 2005

Huge crowds are voting in a by-election in French Polynesia, which is seen as a crucial test for the president, Gaston Flosse.

Thirty-seven seats are to be filled, after the French Supreme Court annulled some of the results of last year's general election.

Our reporter, Walter Zweifel, is in Mahina in French Polynesia.

"Unprecedented numbers of voters are trying to cast ballots, causing huge traffic jams in the greater Papeete area. Voting has been orderly, at schools, that for today, have turned into fairgrounds with food stalls and music. One flashpoint has been the Tahoeraa stronghold of Pirae where several women abused French socialist MPs touring polling stations. The key leaders have voted and just under three hours remain until the count begins."