18 Nov 2004

More care expected in new French Polynesia poll

4:18 pm on 18 November 2004

A leading French Polynesian journalist says a key French court decision on the territory's last election will alter the way elections are conducted in future.

France's highest court ruled this week that the election of 37 of the 57 members must be annulled, largely because of colour in polling stations.

The editor of the Tahitipresse news agency, Thibault Marais, says the election was supervised by a commission of independent judges who found no fault at the time.

Mr Marais says colours are widely used at polling stations, but the court annulled the result for Tahiti and Moorea because the final margin was so tight there.

And he says the ruling is likely to mean colours are forbidden in the future.

"We know now that the political parties know that they shouldn't do that any more, because it could lead to serious consequences for them, so I think that the next time people are going to vote in French Polynesia, especially in Tahiti and Moorea, political parties are going to make sure that there are not too many colours in the polling station. I'm sure they will be aware that now it can be important."

Thibault Marais.