3 Jun 2007

Tahoeraa candidates win French Polynesia's first round of French assembly election

10:24 pm on 3 June 2007

Candidates of French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party have won most votes in the first round of the election to choose two representatives for the French assembly.

Preliminary results show that the incumbent and mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard, won most votes in the western electorate while his party colleague, Bruno Sandras, won in the eastern electorate.

Also through to the second round are the two candidates of the Union For Democracy, Oscar Temaru and Pierre Frebault.

Mr Buillard won 41 percent of the votes while Mr Temaru won 40 percent in a bid to be the first pro-independence politician in Tahiti to secure a seat in the French assembly.

None of the other 18 candidates managed to get past the threshold of at least 12.5 percent support of registered voters to qualify for the second round of voting in two weeks.

Beatrice Vernaudon, who has held one of the Paris seats for the Tahoeraa, won more than 22 percent of the votes in the eastern electorate but fell short of the 12.5 percent share of registered voters to make it to the next round because only just over half of the voters went to the polls.

Among the losers are leaders of smaller parties, such as Nicole Bouteau and Jean-Christophe Bouissou.