French Polynesia completes second round of municipal elections

8:32 pm on 30 June 2020

French Polynesian voters have completed the second round of the municipal elections by choosing mayors in towns such as Papeete and Arue.

Papeete, capital of French Polynesia

Papeete, capital of French Polynesia Photo: RNZI

Michel Buillard was re-elected in Papeete amid threats of electoral challenges following a bitter campaign.

In Arue, the long-term incumbent Philip Schyle lost to Teura Iriti who managed to secure the support of rival parties by declaring herself an apolitical candidate.

In the territorial assembly, she is a senior member of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party.

A leading pro-independence politician Antony Geros has become the mayor of Paea.

In the first round in mid-March, several prominent politicians were re-elected as mayors by winning an outright majority.

They included the president Edouard Fritch in Pirae and the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru in Faaa.

The first round was held just days after the first Covid-19 case was detected.

Paris then postponed the second round in all communes despite calls by Mr Fritch to proceed as scheduled one week later.

Vice president Teva Rohfritsch however fell well short in his bid to secure the mayoralty in Punaauia.

In Papeete, the incumbent Michel Buillard narrowly missed the 50 percent mark to be elected and will have to go to a second round.

However, it is unclear if voting will go ahead in French Polynesia in a week as planned.

In France, president Emmanuel Macron has deferred the second round because of the coronavirus outbreak.