29 Jan 2008

France says Tahiti result a setback for pro-independence camp

2:41 pm on 29 January 2008

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, has described the election outcome in French Polynesia as a set-back for the pro-independence camp.

In yesterday's first round of the early general election, the Union For Democracy won less than a third of votes while the pro-autonomy To Tatou Aia of Gaston Tong Sang secured most votes in the election of the 57-member assembly.

Unofficial results give To Tatou Aia 32.7 percent and the Union For Democracy 31.9 percent of the vote across the six constituencies.

The To Tatou Aia, which was formed in September, beat the main rival pro-autonomy party, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira, in all key electorates.

Small parties fared badly, with the No Oe E Te Nunaa of Nicole Bouteau being the only party in the Tahiti electorate to pass the five-percent threshold to be able to join another list for the second round of voting on February the 10th.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex du Prel, says the parties that were eliminated are likely to back To Tatou Aia.

"All these little parties that got altogether about 10 percent of the vote are all pro-autonomy which means they want to stay with France where all the money comes from."