Voting has begun in French Polynesia to elect a new and enlarged territorial assembly.
It is the first election under a new autonomy statute approved by France earlier this year.
Walter Zweifel reports:
"Today's snap election was called last month only hours after the French President Jacques Chirac dissolved the assembly on a request from the territory's veteran leader, Gaston Flosse."
He wanted a new mandate after winning enhanced powers under the new autonomy statute which also accommodates a new electoral system,
This will give the largest party a bonus of a third of all seats, making Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party the favourite to win a crushing majority.
Opposition parties have failed to form a united list - which according the observers would have been the only hope of ending Mr Flosse's 20 year rule.
Polls will close at 8 tonight, local time.