14 Apr 2005

Interim speaker wants to be elected to French Polynesia's top assembly post

8:16 pm on 14 April 2005

French Polynesia's interim speaker, Hiro Tefaarere, has confirmed his candidacy for tomorrow's speaker election in defiance of his Union For Democracy Party.

Mr Tefaarere has been in the post since November, replacing the assembly's president, Antony Geros, who was one of 37 members whose election was annulled by the French supreme court.

His party has been seeking a consensus to endorse Mr Geros but Mr Tefaarere says he will stand and has described party politics as archaic.

A senior party member says 28 of the group's 29 have signed a document in support of Mr Geros while Mr Tefaarere says he has the backing of a very strong minority.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira is yet to name its candidate.

The Alliance For New Democracy, which holds two seats, has indicated it will back neither side.

Should there be a second round of voting and Mr Tefaarere and Mr Geros then have the same number of votes, Mr Geros would lose because he is the younger of the pair.