26 Apr 2012

French Polynesia challenge risks election annulment

4:47 pm on 26 April 2012

A former French Polynesian president has lodged a complaint about a government-sponsored letter distributed last week which could nullify the results of the first round of the French presidential election.

Gaston Tong Sang says the pro-independence leader, Oscar Temaru, violated the law which bans campaigning the day before voters go to the polls.

Mr Temaru's supporters distributed a letter in public places, signed by him, which urged everyone to become an ambassador for his campaign to reinscribe the territory on the UN decolonisation list.

Mr Tong Sang says Mr Temaru's party is a formal ally of the French Socialists and not allowed to campaign.

He also says the action amounts to an abuse of public funds because the letter was printed with the presidency's letterhead.

Mr Tong Sang says he doesn't want the French constitutional council to nullify the Tahiti results but to warn that the law may not be breached when the second round is held next week.

In the first round in French Polynesia, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is backed by Mr Tong Sang, won more than 45 percent of the vote - his fourth highest score of all electorates.