22 Dec 2006

French Polynesia now to elect new president after Christmas

1:14 pm on 22 December 2006

The French Polynesian assembly is to meet in five days for a second attempt to elect a new president.

This morning's sitting required 35 of the 57 members to be present for a valid election but all but three boycotted it.

The presidential candidate of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, Gaston Tong Sang, was there along with the assembly president, Philip Schyle, and his Fetia Api party colleague, Thilda Fuller.

The members of the ousted Union For Democracy led by Oscar Temaru stayed away after saying yesterday that they would not attend the sitting although Mr Temaru is also a candidate.

The balance of power is held by four outer island members who say they will vote as a bloc.

One of them, Jean-Alain Frebault, has changed sides six times since 2004.

He voted against the government last week after voting for its budget the week before.