10 Jun 2004

French Polynesia to hold presidential election after Flosse appeals fail

4:36 pm on 10 June 2004

A tribunal in French Polynesia has rejected an appeal by the territory's president, Gaston Flosse, to defer tomorrow's planned election of a new president.

The ruling follows the failed appeal to the French state to nullify last week's election of the assembly president in a last ditch attempt to stop the presidential election from going ahead.

President Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party lost its majority in the new assembly when it sat for the first time last week.

After the tribunal ruling in Papeete, a Tahoeraa leader, Edouard Fritch, told Tahitipresse news agency that his party will appeal and hopes to have the case heard within two weeks.

It is not clear whether Mr Flosse's party members will be in the house when a new president is due to be chosen.

If a boycott leaves the assembly without a quorum, a fresh election attempt will be made in four days.

The only candidate is Oscar Temaru of the successful opposition coalition.

Meanwhile, the assembly has chosen two vice-presidents for the house.

They are Hirohiti Tefaarere and Chantal Tahiata.

The house has also elected a third vice-president, Lana Tetuanui who is a member of Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa.