9 Apr 2010

Assembly due to elect new President in French Polynesia

8:17 am on 9 April 2010

French Polynesia's assembly is today due to meet to elect a new assembly president, which is seen as a test for the ruling majority.

Negotiations have been tense in the lead-up to the gathering.

A defection of an opposition member this week lasted just a day but still raised the ruling coalition's hopes that it might have the support of the 29 members needed to elect its candidate.

Last weekend, the government side lost Philip Schyle who resigned in apparent protest at his colleagues opting to renew the assembly presidency, which had been his for the past year.

For weeks speculation has been that the controversial veteran politician Gaston Flosse will emerge as the coalition candidate.

His party says if it doesn't win the assembly presidency the coalition is over.

But the threat may be empty as there may not be 29 votes to replace Mr Schyle.