18 Jan 2010

French Polynesia President calls for directly elected President

9:21 am on 18 January 2010

French Polynesia's president, Gaston Tong Sang, has proposed that a new deal be struck with France for the territory's development which would involve a directly elected president.

Speaking after several days of talks in Paris, Mr Tong Sang said such an institutional change would have to have the endorsement of Tahiti's political leaders.

He says last February he wrote to the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to propose a direct election of the territory's president.

Under the current statute, the president is chosen by the assembly, but with frequent changes in the poltical alignments in the assemblyin recent years, the president has often been replaced.

Mr Tong Sang has negotiated with French leaders, seeking 260 million US dollars in development assistance.