11 Jan 2011

Candidates ready for French Polynesia's Mahina contest

9:49 am on 11 January 2011

French Polynesia's pro-independence Union For Democracy has held a primary election to choose its candidate to contest for the Mahina mayor's race at the end of the month.

Heifara Taiarui has won the nomination and will meet the party leadership for talks tonight.

The election was called after the long-term mayor, Emile Vernaudon, was declared ineligible to hold office last year after a corruption conviction.

However, he also wants to regain the position.

In 2008, Mr Vernaudon 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.