21 Jan 2005

Candidate in Tahiti poll accuses opponents of vote-buying

8:39 am on 21 January 2005

A candidate in next month's French Polynesian by-election says he fears polling could be rigged by vote-buying and the abuse of the proxy system.

Myron Mataoa of the Union for Democracy says voters no longer need to provide evidence that they can't go to the polls and a simple statement will suffice.

The by-election comes after irregularities in last year's general election prompted the French supreme court to annul the result in Tahiti and Moorea, leaving two thirds of all assembly seats empty.

Mr Mataoa also says he's saddened that France has refused observers from Pacific countries to monitor the election.

He alleges that the rival Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party is offering money for votes and he says the proxy system is open to abuse.

"Now, all those who vote by proxy, all they have to do is write some sort of declaration and say 'I'm not available on that day' and to give the vote to someone to vote for me. I thin proxy voting is open to abuse."