French Polynesia's Flosse signals he will keep pursuing voter registration

12:25 pm on 24 February 2020

Veteran French Polynesian politician Gaston Flosse says last week's supreme court ruling against him was only the first round.

Veteran French Polynesian politician, Gaston Flosse.

Veteran French Polynesian politician, Gaston Flosse. Photo: RNZ Pacific

France's highest court had agreed with a Tahiti court decision that Flosse did not meet the residency requirements to enrol in Papeete.

Flosse has since tried to enrol for a second time in the hope to run in next month's municipal elections.

Although his second attempted registration has again been rejected in French Polynesia, he expects a positive outcome of a second appeal in Paris.

His lawyer said the second registration attempt was made six months after Flosse had moved to Papeete and hence he had become eligible to enrol.

However, the courts in both Papeete and Paris have also found that the 15-square-metre room Flosse rents with his partner at his Tahoeraa Huiraatira party's headquarters in Papeete does not qualify as his permanent residence.

Flosse was hoping to use the municipal elections to stage a political comeback, after he was barred from public office for five years because of corruption convictions.

He had said he wanted to stand in Papeete because he was done with Pirae, where he had been mayor for 35 years until 2000.

Meanwhile, the longtime mayor of Papeete has appeared in court following a complaint that he lives elsewhere and is ineligible for the post.

Michel Buillard, who has been the mayor since 1995, said the case brought by members of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party was an intrusion into his privacy.

They say he lived in Pirae and could neither be the mayor of Papeete nor stand for reelection next month.

The court, which has heard that he has two homes, will decide this week which is his primary residence.

The challenge was brought after the electoral commission in Papeete refused to enrol Flosse as a voter.

Mr Buillard in turn has launched a procedure seeking to expel the Tahoeraa from its Papeete headquarters for allegedly having a faulty lease.

Mr Buillard was a long-time Tahoeraa member and a minister in the Flosse-led government but has since left the party.

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