15 Nov 2004

Judicial decision over voting in French Polynesian electorate expected very soon

6:12 am on 15 November 2004

Judicial sources in Paris now say France's highest court will rule within 24 hours on whether to annul the result of the May general election in French Polynesia's Tahiti/Moorea electorate.

The result was challenged by Gaston Flosse, who lost power to the Oscar Temaru-led coalition.

Mr Flosse has in the meantime won a no confidence vote to oust Mr Temaru but his re-election as president last month is also being challenged in the Paris court.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Should Mr Flosse win his case, it would confirm an unprecedented election botch-up in the region, with nearly two thirds of all seats being declared void because of voting irregularities. That surpasses the problems of the Papua New Guinea general election two years ago when about 10 percent of seats had to be filled in a fresh round of voting. But whatever the court rules, the political problem will remain. Mr Temaru's coalition and the main church want territory-wide elections - a proposition ruled out by the Chirac administration so far. By contrast, it took Mr Flosse a single appeal to get the assembly dissolved for the early elections in May whose outcome still is the source of instability."