7 Jan 2008

Official campaigning to begin ahead of French Polynesian election

4:13 pm on 7 January 2008

Official campaigning is about to begin in French Polynesia which is to hold an early general election in two rounds of voting in late January and February.

32 electoral lists of candidates have been approved by the administrative tribunal in Papeete to contest the 57 seats in the assembly under a new electoral system.

The election was called by Paris after saying that the territory needed more political stability following several successful motions of no confidence since the 2004 election.

Among the candidates for assembly seats are three recent presidents, Oscar Temaru, Gaston Flosse and Gaston Tong Sang.

A first televised debate is scheduled for tomorrow night.

The results of the 2004 elections were annulled in 37 of the 57 seats after the French supreme court found that the vote was marred by irregularities.

But a by-election in 2005 confirmed the gains of the Union For Democracy which had emerged as the surprise winner in the botched poll.