30 Aug 2010

French Polynesia's president wants reforms for people to elect head of government

6:33 am on 30 August 2010

French Polynesia's president, Gaston Tong Sang, says he will ask Paris to push for electoral reforms that will see the head of government in Tahiti chosen by the people.

He made the call as politicians from most so-called pro-autonomy factions gear up to fly to Paris for discussions in a week with the French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard.

The opposition camp, led by Oscar Temaru, is boycotting the talks in France, saying they should be held in Papeete.

It is not known what Paris might propose as a reform this time but in the past, it had ruled out a presidential election by universal suffrage.

Under urgency, the French legislature has changed French Polynesia's electoral system three time since 2004, but no change has brought about political stability.

The first government after the early election in 2008 was voted out a month into its five-year term.