10 Sep 2003

No apologies from French Polynesian Government after convicted MP kept on payroll

4:38 pm on 10 September 2003

The French Polynesian government is defending a hotly debated decision to allow Henri Flohr to remain in the assembly while he appealed against a conviction.

Mr Flohr, who was a government member of the assembly, has now resigned his seat, almost a year after failing in appeals to overturn a suspended jail sentence for the misuse of public funds.

Yves Haupert, the spokesman for the French Polynesian president, Gaston Flosse, says the seat has gone to Victor Doom, the next on the list of the ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, and he took it up today.

He says Mr Flohr's conviction was suspended during unsuccessful appeals to the French President, Jacques Chirac, and the Council of State in Paris, and there was no legal requirement for him to step down before now.

"When you make a second appeal in the Conseil d'Etat or if you make a special demand to the President of the Republic, these demands make your condemnation... how do you say that um... cette decision suspendre la condemnation you have not to do the condemnation, you can wait"

Yves Haupert in Papeete.