28 Jan 2008

Voters in French Polynesia go to the polls

6:51 am on 28 January 2008

Voters in French Polynesia go to the polls today in the first round of an early general election.

At stake are 57 seats in the territorial assembly.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The election was called by Paris a year early as part of reforms aimed at increasing political stability. Voting is taking place under a new electoral system which no longer gives the winning list in the six constituencies bonus seats as in 2004. The Union For Democracy led by Oscar Temaru has remained a solid block during years of upheaval while the rival Tahoeraa Huiraatira, led by Gaston Flosse, has split. To go to the second round in two weeks, electoral lists must secure at least 12,5 percent of the vote. Coalitions are expected to forged once today's results are in. But in the absence of any rules banning party hopping, there is a risk that the instability seen in recent years will continue."