31 May 2004

French Polynesian president tries to get elections declared invalid

7:00 am on 31 May 2004

The French Polynesian president says he plans to approach France in a bid to have last Monday's general election declared invalid.

Gaston Flosse told the news agency AP that he plans to make an appeal to the French Council of State because confidentiality in the Tahiti and Moorea electorate was not respected.

He gave no details of his claims.

His party lost its majority in parliament because the opposition coalition won the Tahiti and Moorea constituency by just under 400 votes in a polling process run by the French state.

Mr Flosse's comment is the first to suggest any impropriety in the election which was held under a new electoral system proposed by Mr Flosse and approved by Paris against the wishes of the opposition.

Late last week, Mr Flosse went on television to appeal to two small opposition parties to renege on their coalition deal, reached only hours earlier with the main opposition group to form a new government.

Shortly after the election, the opposition leader, Oscar Temaru visited the French High Commissioner in Papeete to ask that the French Government respect the wishes of voters and not intervene in the outcome.