12 Nov 2007

French Senate to examine planned reforms for French Polynesia today

6:11 am on 12 November 2007

The French Senate is today due to examine the planned reforms for French Polynesia before passing the law project to the national assembly next week.

The reforms aim to bring about greater political stability in Tahiti after the assembly in Papeete passed four no-confidence motions in three years.

The plan calls for two rounds of voting early next year to elect a new assembly.

The senate law commission has suggested that party lists win at least 12.5 percent of the votes to make it to the second round.

And only parties that have won at least five percent in the first round will be allowed to form or join coalition to contest the second round.

Although the objective is to create stability, no provision has been made to stop assembly members from party-hopping which was the key factor in the demise of recent goverments.

Under the new plan, backers of a no-confidence motion have to nominate a new head of government in advance.

The last general election was held in May 2004 but half a year later the French supreme court found that the poll was marred by irregularities and annulled the elections of 37 of the assembly's 57 members, prompting a by-election in January 2005.