14 Jun 2004

Political lobbying continues in French Polynesia ahead of tomorrow's presidential election

11:58 am on 14 June 2004

There could be further political manoeuvering in French Polynesia today ahead of tomorrow's presidential elections.

The territorial assembly is poised to elect the pro-independence leader, Oscar Temaru, after his coalition's surprise victory in last month's elections.

Mr Temaru is the only candidate after the territory's long standing leader, Gaston Flosse, refused to put his name forward claiming that the elections were flawed.

From Papeete, Walter Zweifel reports:

"Three appeals by the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party to have last month's shock election result annulled have failed. Now at least one MP has defected to Mr Temaru's coalition and more may follow. The impending change will shake up much of the administration and also prompt a review of France's foreign policy in the region, built on Mr Flosse's continued rule. And further challenges lie ahead for Paris as the heir to the Tahitian royal title claims in France's highest court that none of the autonomy statutes are legal."