9 Sep 2005

French Polynesian deputy mayor alleges French harassment over mayoral election

11:11 am on 9 September 2005

A deputy mayor in French Polynesia has lodged a complaint against the French high commission for harassment in a deepening dispute over failed mayoral elections on the atoll of Makemo.

Marere Mairoto lodged the complaint with the public prosecutor after he refused a call by the French state to arrange for a fresh mayoral election.

The French prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, issued a decree a month ago to remove the Makemo mayor for alleged mismanagement.

But the mayor, Tuhiva Mairoto, has challenged the legality of the process used to remove him, with both him and his deputy still claiming to be the lawfully elected leaders.

The Makemo council failed twice to meet to elect another mayor after access to the town hall was blocked.

The French high commission has now summoned the Makemo council to meet in Papeete tomorrow morning to elect a mayor.