8 Nov 2004

France to rule tonight on whether new elections are needed in part of French Polynesia

4:39 pm on 8 November 2004

A law professor in French Polynesia says he expects France's highest court is set to order new elections in much of the embattled territory.

France's Council of State is expected to rule tomorrow on a case brought by Gaston Flosse, soon after he lost the presidency in June to Oscar Temaru.

Mr Flosse has since defeated Mr Temaru in Parliament and the two head rival governments both claiming to be legitimate.

With pressure mounting in France, too, over the impasse, all eyes are on the court.

Law professor Yves Louis Sage says he believes it will find irregularities in the May election on Tahiti and Moorea, where most people live.

And he says ordering fresh elections there could take the heat out of the impasse in the territory.

"A new vote taking place here in these two islands will probably provide a clear picture of the willingness of the local population, of their desire whether or not to have once again Mr Temaru's government in charge or to consider that Mr Flosse and his party should once again be in charge."

Professor Sage.