12 Sep 2005

Meeting in Tahiti in French Polynesia elects mayor for archipelago

7:26 am on 12 September 2005

A special meeting in Tahiti of the Makemo municipal council in French Polynesia has chosen an opposition MP from another island, Michel Yip, as its new mayor.

Police provided security for the meeting behind closed doors for which councillors were flown in from the Tuamotu archipelago.

This comes after two attempts on Makemo to choose a new mayor failed after locals blocked access to the townhall.

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

Mr Mairoto has rejected the decree and mounted a legal challenge, saying the process by the French state was flawed.

And his deputy has lodged a complaint with the state prosecutor in Papeete alleging harassment by the French authorities after being urged to convene the council meeting.