9 Nov 2004

Serious irregularities found in French Polynesian elections says judge

9:12 am on 9 November 2004

An independent judge in Paris has found serious irregularities in the elections held in French Polynesia earlier this year for the area of Tahiti and Moorea.

The administrative judge has recommended to the Conseil d'Etat, or the state court, that the results of the voting in Tahiti and Moorea should be annuled and new elections for that area only, should be held within three months.

The judge found that polling booths, which are required by law to be neutral, were decorated with the colours of the independent movement.

A professor of law at the University of French Polynesia, Yves Louis Sage, says the Conseil d'Etat is known to follow the recommendations of the administrative judge in 80 to 90 percent of cases.

A decision from the court is expected within the next couple of days.

If the court rules that new elections should be held in Tahiti and Moorea, it could decide the outcome of the political crisis where rival presidents are claiming power.

Whichever party wins Tahiti and Moorea, it is awarded 37 out of the 57 seat assembly.