26 Apr 2010

As ineligibility looms, Flosse lawyers mount new challenge

2:16 pm on 26 April 2010

Reports from Tahiti say France's highest court has been asked whether it has the constitutional powers to decide if French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, is still eligible for office.

A decision was due on April the 8th on whether he would lose his mandates as French senator and assembly member in Tahiti but the ruling has been put off.

According to the Nouvelles de Tahiti, his lawyers have now challenged the court's powers and a decision in Paris is now expected next month.

Last September, the appeal court in Tahiti upheld a one-year suspended jail sentence given to him by a lower court for misusing public funds following the 2004 general election night.

The verdict also declared him ineligible for public office for a year with immediate effect.

But Mr Flosse's lawyers first challenged the ruling by taking the case to France's highest court and now seek to see if the court has the powers to make a decision.

The move has been described by the Tahiti paper as Mr Flosse's attempt to win time and delay any possibly unfavourable decision.