5 Sep 2014

Flosse appeal fails, likely to lose office

8:12 am on 5 September 2014

French Polynesia's president Gaston Flosse has failed in his appeal to have a sentence for corruption wiped and is now likely to lose office.

In July, the highest court in France upheld his conviction for corruption and stripped him of his offices as both president and member of the French Senate.

However, the French government refused to serve him the verdict to make it official.

Flosse immediately appealed in the court of appeal in Tahiti, asking that the sentence be dropped so that he could stay in office.

This morning, the court rejected his bid.

Flosse also appealed to Francois Hollande for a presidential pardon.

Last month, Mr Hollande said the decisions reached by the judiciary should be respected.

His reply to the pardon bid is expected within days.

Flosse also appealed to the European Human Rights Court, objecting to the case having been pursued.

He has maintained he is innocent, saying the courts went against the wish of the people who last year elected his party to run the territory.

Should Flosse lose the presidency, his successor is likely to be the president of the territorial assembly, Edouard Fritch.

Flosse was found guilty of running a massive network of so-called phantom jobs to support his Tahoeraa Huiraatira political party at the height of his power nearly 20 years ago.