France partially annuls election results in Polynesia

15th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - France's state council - the highest administrative court - on Monday partially annulled the results of elections in French Polynesia, opening a possible way-out from a political crisis in the Pacific territory.

PARIS, Nov 15 (AFP) - France's state council - the highest administrative court - on Monday partially annulled the results of elections in French Polynesia, opening a possible way-out from a political crisis in the Pacific territory.

The council ruled that because of irregularities in some voting stations, May's territorial elections in the islands of Tahiti and Moorea were invalid.

The government in Paris was said to be considering the possibility of calling new elections for the whole of French Polynesia in a bid to secure a clear majority in the territorial assembly. Representatives of the main parties have been summoned to Paris next week.

The crisis burst out last month when pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru - who became president of the territory after the May vote - was ousted from power by a long-time ally of President Jacques Chirac.

Veteran politician Gaston Flosse, 73, who is also a member of the Senate in Paris for Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), resecured the position he has held for 16 out of the last 20 years via the defection of a member of Temaru's paper-thin majority.

Supporters of Temaru staged a series of protests in the capital Papeete, alleging that Flosse stage-managed his comeback with the help of political allies in Paris. They have the backing of the opposition Socialists in Paris who accuse Flosse of being a corrupt Chirac stooge.

Chirac's government is eager to find a solution to the crisis, which risks spinning into strikes which would harm the territory's already highly dependent economy.

Lying some 17,000 kilometres (10,500 miles) from France, Polynesia consists of five archipelagos and 118 islands spread over an area the size of Europe. Annexed by France in 1880, the territory lives on tourism, fishing and handouts from Paris.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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