17 Oct 2005

French Polynesian MP Bouteau at risk of losing seat over election spending

11:15 am on 17 October 2005

The leader of French Polynesia's No Oe E Te Nunaa party, Nicole Bouteau, says she risks losing her seat over a legal problem surrounding the financing of the election campaign in February.

Ms Bouteau is one of two assembly members of the pro-autonomy and centrist Alliance For A New Democracy whose election accounts have reportedly been rejected by the French authorities.

There has been no official announcement, but Ms Bouteau has advised the media that her party was assessed as being a person and not a party.

Therefore, she says, the coalition she is part of won't be reimbursed for the 110,000 US dollars in campaign expenditure.

Ms Bouteau says she has also been told that as a result of what she calls a legal anomaly she may be ineligible for a year and lose her assembly seat to the next person on the list, Thilda Fuller.

The Alliance For A New Democracy says it would fight any attempt to disqualify Ms Bouteau.

In newspaper surveys and polls of the past year, Ms Bouteau, who is a former tourism minister, has regularly been among the territory's leaders with the highest approval rating.