Dissidents tout alternative election candidates for French Polynesia

6:53 am on 20 March 2018

Two dissidents within French Polynesia's pro-independence party say they plan to present an alternative list of candidates at next month's territorial election.

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Heia Parau and Vetea Heller, who are linked to the union movement, have told local media they represent the people being ignored by political leaders.

They said they were shocked at their politicians' indifference to the thousands of people who joined a recent general strike to stop the government's planned pension reform.

They said politicians were in an ivory tower, accusing them of not doing anything for the poor.

As a result, they said there was growing abstention, with especially young people no longer interested in voting.

The pair said their decision to launch fresh women-led lists in all electoral sections is not the result of their own low ranking on the Tavini list.

Its leader Oscar Temaru has faced unhappiness in parts of the Society Islands over the make-up of the party list, prompting him to travel to Uturoa to explain the choices made.