5 Sep 2007

French Polynesia's political rivalries may block presidential election

3:29 pm on 5 September 2007

There is concern in French Polynesia that no new president can be elected following last week's ouster of Gaston Tong Sang from the position.

While the statute provides for two rounds of voting next week to choose a president, it is unclear how to proceed if none of the candidates secures an absolute majority.

Some members of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party sided with the opposition to approve a no confidence motion which ended his eight-month tenure.

The party leadership has now chosen Edouard Fritch as candidate for next week's election but observers say the division among the politicians is such that no candidate can be assured of 29 votes in the 57-member assembly.

The planned election comes as the French government has already announced that it shorten the term of the assembly and hold a general election as soon as possible.