6 Sep 2014

Tahiti's Flosse removed from office

5:41 pm on 6 September 2014

French Polynesia's president, Gaston Flosse, has quit his office after failing to get a presidential pardon from Francois Hollande for his corruption conviction.

A statement from his office says the French high commissioner has delivered the document setting an end to his functions.

This comes a day after the court of appeal in Tahiti rejected Flosse's bid for it to wipe the sentence he received in July.

Last month, Mr Hollande said he would let the judicial process run its course, which now means the corruption conviction stands.

Flosse was convicted for running a vast network of phantom jobs to support his political party in what has been the biggest case of its kind in French legal history.

He was sentenced to a four-year suspended jail term, a 170,000 US dollar fine and banned from public office for three years last year.

The sentence had been confirmed by France's highest court in July, but the French government refused to serve him the verdict.

He sought a pardon and asked the appeal court in Tahiti not to apply the sentence.

Flosse has insisted he is innocent.

He says a meeting will be called on Monday when he will propose that the president of the territorial assembly, Edouard Fritch, be his party's candidate for his succession.

The opposition's Oscar Temaru has called for fresh elections in view of the rejection of the bid for apresidential pardon.

Flosse, who is 83, was elected president five times and was a member of the French Senate since 1998.