19 Dec 2006

France tightens security ahead of French Polynesian presidential election

4:13 pm on 19 December 2006

France has sent 75 extra police to Tahiti ahead of French Polynesia's presidential election which is to be held in three days.

The French high commissioner based in Papeete, Anne Boquet, has deferred her holiday in view of the election which follows last week's assembly vote to oust the Oscar Temaru-led government.

The two candidates for the presidential election are the Union For Democracy's Oscar Temaru and Gaston Tong Sang of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party.

35 out of the 57 assembly members need to be present for a valid election which will be won by the candidate securing at least 29 votes.

If there is no quorum, the assembly will be reconvened the day after Christmas when a simple majority of those present will be enough to choose the new president.

If there is a tie, Mr Temaru will be back in power because he is the older of the two candidates.