9 Nov 2004

New elections for parts of French Polynesia possible after judge finds irregularities

4:01 pm on 9 November 2004

An independent judge says there were important irregularities in French Polynesia's election when voting took place in Tahiti and Moorea.

The judge has recommended to the Council of State, that new elections should be held in Tahiti and Moorea, but she has suggested the Council should reject similar requests for other electorates.

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

A professor of law at the University of French Polynesia, Yves-Louis Sage, says this is considered a serious breach of law.

"According to the French law, the polling booths should be considered a place where there is no indication of one particular party whatsoever. And, when there is just the colours of one party represented, it may certainly have an influence on the voting process itself."

The Council of State is expected to make a decision within the next couple of days which will have an impact on the rival claims to power.

Whichever party wins Tahiti and Moorea, is automatically allocated 37 out of the 57 seats in the assembly.