19 Jan 2005

Both sides confident in upcoming French Polynesian by-election

11:31 am on 19 January 2005

French Polynesia's ousted coalition led by Oscar Temaru says it is optimistic that it will be returned with a majority after next month's by-election.

Campaigning is under way for the 37 seats which are vacant after the French supreme court annulled the result in the Tahiti and Moorea electorate.

The ruling came after a complaint by the rival Tahoeraa party about election irregularities which it claimed led to its defeat in last year's general election.

A member of Mr Temaru's party, Sabrina Birk, says the seven-party coalition is attracting large support at campaign meetings.

"We hope to gain five more seats, that will bring us to 29, that will give us a majority. Now, this is a modest way of saying things but when you look at the meetings you can allow yourself to dream that we may get 35 seats out of 37."

Sabrina Birk

The territory's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party is equally optimistic about its chances of retaining power.

The spokesman for the Gaston Flosse-led government, Jean-Christophe Buissou, says this time his party may win.

Probably we are going to win this election. What we hear from Mr Temaru is quite different, it looks like he's pretty much confident of winning this election but we'll see on the 13th of February.