Tahiti anti-independence politician switches support

1:52 pm on 5 June 2017

An unsuccessful French Polynesian anti-independence candidate has called on his backers to vote for the rival pro-independence candidate in the French National Assembly election.

Vincent Dubois of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party made the call on the public broadcaster after being narrowly beaten in the first round of voting for the territory's three Assembly seats.

No caption

Photo: AFP

He said in the run-off vote in two weeks, people should vote for his erstwhile rival Moetai Brotherson of the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira because he was a person of conviction.

Mr Brotherson came second in the first round, losing to Patrick Howell of the ruling Taputa Huiraatira party, which is also opposed to independence.

Mr Dubois was briefly a member of the French Senate but his election was annulled two years ago after a French court ruled that a march by hundreds of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira supporters to the polling station on election day amounted to undue pressure on the 700-strong electoral college.