21 Aug 2006

French Polynesian Assembly remains one member short

6:13 am on 21 August 2006

The French Polynesian assembly is one member short following a French supreme court ruling in an election campaign funding case.

Two weeks ago, the court disqualified Nicole Bouteau for a year but she told a public weekend meeting of her No Oe E Te Nunaa Party that she is yet to receive the document striking her off the assembly members' list.

But Ms Bouteau says while this still leaves her as an official assembly member, it would be inappropriate to keep the seat given that the court decision has been made public.

However, her seat has remained vacant because the next person on the list, Thilda Fuller, has not been declared a new assembly member yet.

Ms Bouteau, who has regularly topped surveys for most popular politician, was found to have made an administrative error in declaring campaign expenditure ahead of last year's Tahiti by-election.

A former tourism minister under Gaston Flosse, she set up her own party and held the balance of power after the 2004 election which saw the demise of the long-term rule of Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira.