25 Mar 2013

Thousands join opposition rally in French Polynesia

6:44 am on 25 March 2013

An estimated 10,000 people in French Polynesia have joined an election rally of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira in Papeete.

The rally has been the biggest in Tahiti in years and comes less than a month before the first round of polling to choose a new 57-member territorial assembly.

The party leader, Gaston Flosse, presented the party line-up of candidates in the four constituencies, which includes former defectors, such as Jean-Christophe Bouissou and Michel Buillard.

In two corruption trials this year, Gaston Flosse was given two prison sentences but he can stand as the convictions are being appealed.

The Tahoeraa's fortunes saw a revival in last year's election of the French National Assembly after significant losses in the last territorial election in 2008.

Under a new electoral system put in place two years ago, the party with most votes will get a third of all seats as a bonus, with the remaining two thirds divided according to the parties' relative strength.