1 Sep 2007

French Polynesia's government loses no confidence vote

11:38 am on 1 September 2007

The French Polynesian government of Gaston Tong Sang has been removed from office in a vote of no-confidence backed by some of his party colleagues.

35 of the 57 assembly members voted for the motion filed by the opposition which had earlier this year failed twice to oust Mr Tong Sang's government formed eight months ago.

The move marks the first time that members of the Tahoreaa Huiraatira party joined the opposition to remove a government led by a Tahoeraa politician.

Mr Tong Sang's fall follows disagreements within his party on how government portfolios should be distributed.

Fresh presidential elections are now scheduled for September 10th, with names of candidates to be submitted by September 5th.

The fall of the government coincides with a visit to Tahiti by the French minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, who has been canvassing party leaders on ways of reforming the political system.

In recent weeks, France has suggested to hold early general elections under a new electoral system.