29 Sep 2010

French Polynesia township awaits ruling on Vernaudon re-election bid

12:39 pm on 29 September 2010

Voters in the French Polynesian township of Mahina are awaiting a decision by the French high commission on whether it will call fresh municipal elections which could see the return of the former veteran mayor, Emile Vernaudon.

The incumbent resigned after the expiry of the ineligibility period of Mr Vernaudon who had been given a suspended jail sentence and been fined for corruption over a land deal in Mahina.

In 2008, he made legal history by becoming the first person under French jurisdiction to be elected mayor while in jail.

At the time he was held for several months in connection with a probe into alleged fraud related to his tenure of the telecommunications ministry.

In his absence, the Mahina council installed him in office by placing a ribbon around his photograph in the mayor's chair.

According to media reports the trial of those implicated in the alleged fraud is to go ahead next month but Mr Vernaudon has told local television that he is yet to be summoned.