8 Jun 2004

Gaston Flosse withdraws from French Polynesia's presidential election

9:25 am on 8 June 2004

French Polynesia's president has withdrawn from the race for this week's presidential vote.

The news agency Tahitipresse says Gaston Flosse failed to put his name down as a candidate by the set weekend deadline.

This leaves the likely leader of a new pro-independence coalition, Oscar Temaru, as the only official candidate for the presidency, in a vote scheduled for Friday.

It's reported Mr Flosse is contesting the vote by the territorial assembly last week which chose a pro-independence party man, Antony Geros, as the new speaker.

A statement from his party, Tahoeraa Huira'atira, says Mr Flosse doesn't accept the election of the speaker, and his party's share of the seats.

It says Mr Flosse has filed an appeal with the State Council to strike out the result of the election, which would nullify the decisions then taken by the Assembly, and consequently, the vote for the presidency.