22 Feb 2008

New French Polynesian assembly to elect assembly president

11:48 am on 22 February 2008

French Polynesia's newly elected assembly is scheduled to have its first meeting today to elect an assembly president.

It is also to confirm that the election of a president for a five-year term will be held this weekend.

This follows an early general election which has seen the To Tatou Aia coalition led by Gaston Tong Sang emerge as the biggest bloc with 27 out of the assembly's 57 seats.

The remaining 30 seats were won by the pro-independence Union For Democracy and the Tahoeraa Huiraatira.

Attempts to forge a pro-autonomy alliance with the Tahoeraa have so far failed despite appeals for reconciliation by the French government which ordered the election in a bid to increase political stability.

And Mr Tong Sang's calls for individual assembly members of other parties to join his team have been ignored.

If no candidate for the assembly presidency wins an absolute majority in the first two rounds of voting, a relative majority in the third round will suffice to win.

In case the two remaining candidates get the same number of votes, the oldest one will be declared elected.