10 Oct 2014

New Caledonia's Martin loses Paita mayoralty

2:35 pm on 10 October 2014

New Caledonia's administrative court has annulled this year's election of Harold Martin as the mayor of Paita.

Mr Martin's election was challenged by Frederic de Greslan who took issue with Mr Martin having held a council meeting away from the town hall and for distributing a 16-page brochure shortly before the second round of voting.

Mr Martin had won the election by 286 votes.

Mr de Greslan says the ruling is a victory for democracy.

However, Mr Martin's camp says it will appeal against the decision, pointing to the reports which show there is no provision banning meetings outside the mayoralty.

A fresh election is to be held within weeks.

Mr Martin had been the mayor of Paita since 1995 and served as president of the Congress as well as president of the territorial government until June.

Harold Martin

Harold Martin Photo: AFP