28 Apr 2006

Legal push to oust convict from French Polyensian assembly

1:22 pm on 28 April 2006

Reports from French Polynesia say the conviction of a local politician, Emile Vernaudon, on corruption charges is being examined by judicial experts after he kept political office.

This has been confirmed by the French high commission to the news agency Tahitipresse and follows a complaint by a citizen, Yves Conroy.

Mr Vernaudon was sentenced to a suspended one-year jail term and fined 30,000 US dollars for corruption but he was neither sacked nor did he resign.

Mr Conroy says it's not up to a criminal court to rule whether a MP loses his eligibility to hold office but an issue pertaining to the electoral law.

He says article 112 of the autonomy statute permits citizens to raise the matter with the French high commission which has to enforce the electoral act.

Mr Vernaudon has been vying to become the president as part of a plan of so-called pro-autonomy politicians who in the past month failed to dislodge the government because of defections in last week's ministerial re-shuffle.