22 Sep 2008

Flosse retains French Polynesian seat in French senate despite UMP fallout

3:23 pm on 22 September 2008

French Polynesia's former President, Gaston Flosse, has retained his seat as member of the French Senate.

Official counts from the French senatorial elections show the 77-year-old veteran politician received 372 of the 696 voters of an electoral college mainly consisting of members of the local legislative assembly.

Oceania Flash reports that the second of the two seats representing French Polynesia in the French Upper House went to Flosse's co-list, Richard Tuheiava, who is a member of pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru's Union for Democracy (UPLD) group.

Mr Tuheiava took the second seat with 361 votes.

French Polynesia's President, Gaston Tong Sang, won 318 votes.

Mr Flosse's victory is locally perceived as a major setback for Mr Tong Sang, but also a slap in the face of French ruling party UMP.

It comes after several months of open confrontation with the Paris-based political group Flosse still regards himself as a founding member of.

The French right-wing party earlier this year clearly indicated it no longer regarded Gaston Flosse as one of its members, because of his recent links to pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru.