21 Jun 2004

French Senator wants Pacific territories to have member in European parliament

7:29 am on 21 June 2004

A French senator from the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, Paul Verges, has presented a bill to ensure that the French Pacific territories will have a representative in the European parliament in Strasbourg.

His move comes after last week's election, which saw all three seats for French overseas territories being won by politicians from La Reunion.

Mr Verges, who is one of the three being elected, says he wants the overseas electorate to be split up into three, with one seat going to French territories in the Atlantic, one in the Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean.

In last week's poll, all French overseas territories made up one electorate that provided three of France's 78 members in the new European parliament.

Mr Verges says the nine French territories are diverse and scattered over 18 time zones.