Temaru hails low voter turnout in Tahiti

5:16 am on 28 April 2017

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru has welcomed the low turnout in last weekend's first round of the French presidential election, saying it was a win for his party.

Oscar Temaru

Oscar Temaru Photo: RNZI

Mr Temaru called for a boycott and 61 percent of voters stayed away, which was the lowest turnout ever recorded in Tahiti.

Having failed in a bid to be a candidate himself, Mr Temaru told a news conference he would have secured 50,000 votes had he been able to run.

Mr Temaru also called on his supporters to skip the run-off election on 7 May and then to vote for his Tavini Huiraatia Party's candidates in the French National Assembly election in June.

However Mr Temaru said he would prefer Emmanuel Macron to be president over Marine Le Pen, noting that Mr Macron had described French colonisation as a crime against humanity.

In French Polynesia, the ruling Tapura Huiraatira Party is backing Mr Macron while the Tahoeraa Huiraatira of former president, Gaston Flosse, is supporting Ms Le Pen.

Mr Temaru said he had been told that Flosse backs Ms Le Pen because of a deal that she would use presidential powers to undo his ban from politics.