En Marche coalition attempt fails in Tahiti

3:13 pm on 2 February 2018

An attempt in French Polynesia to form a coalition involving the local chapter of France's ruling En Marche Party appears to have failed.

Teiva Manutahi

Teiva Manutahi Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

In the lead-up to the April territorial election, it was announced that a list would be produced - to be known as Here Fenua - uniting the Tahiti representative of En Marche with some known political figures who were not in the parties represented in the assembly.

The Here Fenua group was to include Heimana Garbet of En Marche, Teiva Manutahi of Porinetia Ora and a former member of the French National Assembly Bruno Sandras.

However last week a campaign-related event was poorly attended and as a result Here Fenua has reportedly decided to dump Mr Manutahi.

He was unsuccessful in the 2013 election during which he accused the eventual winner, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira, of cheating.

However before the second round of voting he changed his mind and urged his supporters to back the Tahoeraa.

Mr Sandras is a former unionist and government minister who belonged to several parties and who was briefly banned from holding office because of a corruption conviction.

Mr Garbet is new to the local political scene but his position as En Marche's representative in Tahiti has been publicly challenged by a former minister Tauhiti Nena.

Mr Nena, who heads the political party Tau Hoturau, said after meeting En Marche representatives in Paris last month that he plans to represent Emmanuel Macron's party at the territorial election.

Mr Nena said he is planning to join forces with the local Greens and then carry the mantle of the French party.

Currently there are three parties in the territorial assembly, which is to be renewed in two rounds of voting in April and May.