14 Jan 2011

Mahina nominations closing as Vernaudon makes Tahiti power bid

12:28 pm on 14 January 2011

Nominations will close in French Polynesia tonight for the electoral lists contesting this month's mayor's race in Mahina, with eight groups registering.

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 wants to regain the position, which he first won in 1977.

Mr Vernaudon has called a public meeting on Tuesday night to outline his campaign which is also the day he is due in court in connection with the so-called OPT affair.

He runs the risk of being jailed for up to five years for misuse of public funds.

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 OPT affair.

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