22 Oct 2012

Polls should wait for trial outcome, says Tahiti leader

3:15 pm on 22 October 2012

French Polynesia's president says elections originally due early next year should be held off until the long-running trials and appeals of his rivals have run their course.

Oscar Temaru made the comment to reporters as the court of appeal is about to hear the case of 44 people, including of a former president Gaston Flosse, convicted for being part of a network of phantom jobs that cost taxpayers about 12 million US dollars.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Gaston Flosse, who is also one the territory's two senators, was last year given a four-year jail sentence and fined 110,000 US dollars after the biggest trial of its kind in French legal history. 43 others have also appealed against their conviction, which, if upheld, would prevent politicians from standing for office. However, a rejection of the appeal can be taken to France's highest court. Mr Temaru says the elections should wait, maybe until 2014, for the judicial process to be completed."