29 Mar 2006

French Polynesian parties want electoral system changed

3:49 pm on 29 March 2006

The leaders of French Polynesia's two small centrist parties have presented a planned change to the electoral system in a submission to the territorial assembly.

Philip Schyle and Nicole Bouteau presented their proposal only days after the main opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party said it wanted to raise its plans for change to the French overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin, who is due in Papeete later this week.

Both proposals aim at abolishing the bonus seat clause introduced in 2004 at the Tahoeraa's behest.

This gives the winning list in each of the six electorate a third of all seats a bonus.

Ms Bouteau says she first wants a discussion on a territorial level because when the current statute was put in place the Tahoeraa-led government and the French government largely ignored local views.

She also says she wants to stop the mechanism that allows to suspend local laws by appealing to the French supreme court.

Currently, the territory is losing about 30,000 US dollars a day in tax revenue because of challenges to the legality of new local tax laws which are awaiting a decision in Paris