15 Apr 2013

French Polynesia leader wants Flosse kept out of elections

5:18 am on 15 April 2013

French Polynesia's president, Oscar Temaru, says everything has to be done to ensure the opposition's Gaston Flosse won't come back to power in this year's territorial election.

In a extensive pre-election interview, Mr Temaru ruled out co-operating with him as he did after the last election five years ago when Mr Flosse became president for little more than a month.

Since then Mr Flosse has been given two long jail sentences for corruption for offences dating back to the 1990s, but he can contest the polls in a week because he has chosen to appeal to higher courts.

Mr Temaru says he is afraid for his country as he expects that one of his rival's jail sentences will be final before the end of the year.

There are no reliable opinion polls, but Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party drew by far the largest crowd during the past month's campaign, suggesting it might do well in the election.

Voting will be in two rounds, with the winning list in the run-off on May the 5th getting a third of all assembly seats as a bonus, which is expected to give it a big majority.