12 Feb 2009

Second vote needed to choose French Polynesia president

1:41 pm on 12 February 2009

French Polynesia's assembly will hold a second round of voting to elect a new president after this morning's inconclusive vote.

Four candidates stood this morning, with a recess now to allow those seeking the presidency to put their names forward.

In the first round, Oscar Temaru of the pro-independence Union For Democracy won 24 of the assembly's 57 votes, four more than Gaston Tong Sang of the To Tatou Aia coalition who resigned as president last weekend.

The Tahoeraa Huiraatira's Edouard Fritch won 12 votes while Sandra Levy Agami secured one vote.

Tahitipresse reports that Mr Fritch has decided to quit the race, opening the way for a run-off between the top two candidates.

It is not clear who the Tahoeraa will support in the second round.

Today's presidential election is the third since last year's early general election called by France to increase political stability.

Mr Tong Sang had come to power last April after two assembly members defected to his side just weeks into a five-year assembly term to help him oust the government led by Gaston Flosse.