7 May 2013

Stunning election victory for Tahoeraa Huiraatira in French Polynesia

8:18 pm on 7 May 2013

Voters in French Polynesia have given the Tahoeraa Huiraatira a stunning election victory, trebling its seats in the 57-member assembly.

The party of the veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, campaigned on promises to rebuild the economy after years of decline, and in yesterday's election it secured 38 seats, 19 more than all other parties put together.

The Tahoeraa's deputy leader, Edouard Fritch, spoke to Walter Zweifel about the party's success on election night.

FRITCH: I think, for example, this victory for Gaston Flosse is based on the weakness of the last government. French Polynesia today is very, very down in economy, in social life. And then the electors decided to change because they cannot stay without moving and saying what they have on their brain. This victory is the victory of Mr Flosse also because he is the one who has built this autonomy in French Polynesia, who has built this new economy for us after the nuclear testing in French Polynesia. So I think that the people cannot forget what he made for this country.

ZWEIFEL: The finances are very bad and unemployment has been very high recently. How are you, or is your next government, going to address this problem? How are you going to create jobs?

FRITCH: First of all, I think that the new government will instill again in French Polynesia, how do you say, the confidence? Because we miss that. With the of Oscar Temaru, you know, always talking and still talking today of the independence of this country makes people afraid for their future.

ZWEIFEL: Furthermore, Gaston Flosse has problems with the judiciary, he's had several convictions. What are you expecting is going to happen to him should he be elected president?

FRITCH: I am confident in French justice. And I think if Mr Flosse really had problems, if he is...

ZWEIFEL: He was convicted in court.

FRITCH: Yeah, yeah. I think that justice will do what they have to do for him. But for the moment don't forget that since 1987 several politicians in this country...

ZWEIFEL: ..have been convicted.

FRITCH: Yeah. Against Mr Flosse. That was the last means they had to fight him, to make him down, and they didn't succeed.

ZWEIFEL: If he is forced to resign later this year, what will that mean for you?

FRITCH: I'm ready if something arrived to Mr Flosse.

ZWEIFEL: Are you expected to take over should he resign?

FRITCH: I wait since 1981 so I can wait again.