26 Sep 2006

Dismissed French Polynesian MP retains seats as appeal is pending

2:19 pm on 26 September 2006

A French Polynesian assembly member, Jean-Alain Frebault, has confirmed that he will lodge an appeal in the supreme court in Paris in a bid to overturn a decision by the French high commissioner to strip him of his seat.

The high commission found that Mr Frebault failed to explain the nature of his remuneration as chairman of the board of the publicly owned OPT telephone company.

A complaint had been lodged by an OPT employee who claimed that as an MP, Mr Frebault was not allowed to also hold the board chairmanship.

Mr Frebault, who was elected as an opposition MP two years ago, defected to the goverment camp and is to be replaced by the next politician on the list, Fabiola Taata of the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira.

This would put the majority of the Union For Democracy at risk but while the appeal is pending in the supreme court, Mr Frebault can retain his seat.

A government MP, Myron Mataoa, says the French state is not impartial by removing the MP.

But the high commissioner, Anne Boquet, says she only applied the law.