9 Sep 2005

Mayor cancels Tahiti council meeting called by French state

2:31 pm on 9 September 2005

The mayor of the French Polynesian atoll of Makemo has cancelled a council meeting which the French high commission called for tomorrow in Papeete to elect a new Makemo mayor.

Last month, the French prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, issued a decree to remove the mayor, Tuhiva Mairoto, for alleged mismanagement.

The French high commission expected twice in the past two weeks that the council would choose a new mayor but on both occasions no meeting took place because the townhall was blockaded.

The deputy mayor has rejected an approach by the French high commission to call a council meeting and lodged a complaint with the prosecutor alleging French state harassment.

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

Reports from Tahiti say Mr Mairoto has flown to Makemo and won't be at tomorrow's meeting.