The leader of French Polynesia's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party Gaston Flosse says he can stand in next year's territorial election according to advice from his lawyer.
Flosse, who has multiple corruption convictions, is banned form holding office until July 2019.
But Flosse has told public television that the bans cannot be cumulated, claiming that Paris law professors have endorsed his lawyer's stance.
Flosse was forced out of office in 2014 after failing to get a pardon for his conviction for running a network of phantom jobs.
Since the last election in 2013, his Tahoeraa has lost more than half of its assembly members who have formed a new party led by his erstwhile deputy Edouard Fritch.
Flosse, who is 86, was speaking at the opening of a new party headquarters in Papeete which also marked the Tahoeraa's 40th anniversary.