10 May 2010

Gaston Flosse is set to bow out of French Polynesian politics

5:41 am on 10 May 2010

French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, is set to bow out of local politics, with his son-in-law saying he won't contest the next election widely expected next year.

Edouard Fritch, who is the French Polynesia's vice-president and Mr Flosse's deputy in the Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party, made the disclosure on RFO Radio.

Last month, Mr Flosse failed to be become the French Polynesian assembly president when less than a quarter of the assembly backed his candidacy put forward by the ruling majority.

An early election is expected next year once Paris has changed the electoral system which has already been revised three times since 2004 in a bid to increase political stability in Tahiti.

Mr Flosse, who turns 79 this year, was last year declared ineligible for any elected office when he was convicted for corruption, but he has appealed the sentence in France's highest court.

A ruling had first been expected last month and then last week, but his lawyers have successfully challenged the constitutionality of process, with a decision weeks away.

Mr Fritch has meanwhile called for the creation of a new and united pro-autonomy political party after the fracturing of the pro-French camp.