1 May 2006

French Polynesian President supports Socialist politician in French presidential election

8:05 am on 1 May 2006

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has announced his government's support for the Socialist politician, Segolene Royal, in next year's French presidential election.

Mr Temaru says he will encourage support committees to be set up in the territory on her behalf although her party has yet to nominate her as its official candidate.

Opinion polls put her level with the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seen as the UMP's likely candidate to try to succeed Jacques Chirac.

Mr Temaru says it's time for a change in France after Germany, Chile and New Zealand chose women to lead their countries.

Mr Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party was backed by the French Socialists in the elections of 2004 and 2005 which saw two defeats for the UMP-backed government of Gaston Flosse