16 Apr 2008

Tong Sang regains presidency in French Polynesia

10:09 am on 16 April 2008

The French Polynesian assembly has removed the seven-week old government of Gaston Flosse to install Gaston Tong Sang as the new president.

29 of the assembly's 57 members approved the motion of no confidence lodged by the opposition To Tatou Aia coalition last week.

The sitting to debate the motion was boycotted by the government after the opposition secured a majority by getting two members Michel Yip and Justine Teura to defect from the government camp.

One assembly member of Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party was present and is believed to have been the member to cast a blank ballot paper.

Under the new form of no confidence motion introduced as part of French reforms last year, the vote resulted in the immediate installation of Mr Tong Sang as president.

He has now become president for the second time in 18 months.

The fall of the government comes after an early general election was called by Paris in February in a bid to increase political stability.

The To Tatou Aia coalition is the French Polynesian partner of France's ruling UMP Party.