29 May 2008

French Polynesian majority at risk over eligibility challenges

3:20 pm on 29 May 2008

The French Polynesian government's majority is at risk as the opposition has challenged the eligibility of the two assembly members who defected last month to give the To Tatou Aia coalition the numbers to seize power.

The opposition acted after a citizen Yves Conroy discovered that the officially recorded declarations of assets and activities of Justine Teura and Michel Yip didn't match what he happened to know about them.

Their defection brought down the government of Gaston Flosse last month and saw close relatives of theirs be given ministerial positions.

The challenges have been sent to the supreme court in Paris which is expected to rule without delay if the two can keep their seats.

The opposition's Tea Hirshon says the law is clear.

"It's written. If you don't declare everything you are liable to lose your seat."

Should the French court strike out the two members, they would be replaced by the next on the list of the opposition party which would give it a majority in the 57-member assembly.

French Polynesia has had three presidents in the past four months.