6 May 2013

French Polynesia to elect new assembly in today's second round

5:55 am on 6 May 2013

Voters in French Polynesia are going to the polls today in the second round of the election of a new 57-member assembly.

Three parties are left in the contest being held under a new electoral system.

Walter Zweifel reports from Papeete.

"The parties of Gaston Flosse, Oscar Temaru and Teva Rohfritsch are each desperately vying to come first as the winner will get 19 bonus seats and therefore a guaranteed absolute majority. The system was revised by Paris in a bid to avoid small majorities, which in the past decade have been prone to defections and shifting alliances that has led to a rotation of presidents. Today's election comes amid a deep economic crisis, with a slump in employment and a rise in poverty that has engulfed about a third of the population. In the first round two weeks ago, the number of abstentions was higher than the score of any of the parties, which has instilled hope in all three that they can still win."