20 Oct 2004

French Polynesia fails to elect president - new meeting in 3 days

9:53 am on 20 October 2004

French Polynesia's territorial assembly has met briefly in a bid to elect a new territorial president, only hours after France's highest court approved the sitting.

But the meeting failed to have a quorum for a valid vote and a new session is now scheduled in three days when the assembly is to choose among three candidates - Gaston Flosse, Oscar Temaru and John Arapari.

Today's meeting was called last week by the assembly's third vice-president, Lana Tetuanui, to choose a new president following the ousting of the government of Oscar Temaru ten days ago.

But the assembly president, Antony Geros, claimed that she usurped his power because the 29 MPs who wanted to hold a sitting today made the decision after he had closed the session.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party in France has demanded a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the use of public funds in French Polynesia.

It says the Flosse administration, which was ousted by Mr Temaru four months ago, was built on systemic corruption.

Before Mr Temaru was voted out he began audits of government departments amid allegation of high level corruption.

Mr Flosse has said if he is re-elected the audits will be completed.