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Polynesia president narrowly re-elected

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Latest update : 2008-02-25

Gaston Flosse narrowly secured re-election as president of French Polynesia on Saturday, after a spate of last-minute political manoeuverings that saw his primary rival bow out of the race.

Gaston Flosse narrowly won another term as president of French Polynesia on Sunday following dizzying political manoeuvering that saw independence supporters throw their support behind the Paris stalwart.
  
Flosse, 76, who has twice been investigated for corruption, saw his party place third in elections earlier this month, but he pulled out a 29 to 27 victory over Gaston Tong Sang.
  
Tong Sang, whose party placed first in the election taking 27 seats in the chamber, appeared to have clinched support for his return to the presidency by supporting the election of Flosse's deputy as speaker of the assembly on Thursday.
  
But Flosse met Saturday with former pro-independence president Oscar Temaru, who withdrew his candidacy on Sunday and threw the support of his 20 lawmakers in the assembly behind Flosse, whose party has 10 deputies.
  
Flosse now has five days to form a government, which will likely prominently feature independence supporters.
  
A member of the French Senate of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party since 1998, Flosse has long advocated wide-ranging autonomy for French Polynesia instead of independence.
  
He served as head of the territory from 1984 to 1987, 1991 to 2004 and then from October 2004 to February 2005.
  
Flosse was cleared of charges on appeal in one corruption case, while he was put under formal investigation in 2003 for employing fictitious employees although no charges were filed.
  
France annexed the South Pacific archipelago of 263,000 people in the late 19th century.

Date created : 2008-02-24

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