26 Feb 2010

Career of Tahiti's Flosse hinges on Paris ruling on April 8th

3:20 pm on 26 February 2010

France's highest court is set to announce on April the 8th whether French Polynesia's veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, will lose his official mandates as French senator and assembly member in Tahiti.

Last September, the appeal court in Tahiti upheld a one-year suspended jail sentence given by a lower court for misusing public funds following the 2004 general election night.

The verdict also declared him ineligible for public office for a year with immediate effect.

But Mr Flosse challenged the ruling by taking the case to France's highest court.

The Nouvelles de Tahiti says the verdict is expected just hours before the French Polynesian assembly gathers in Papeete to choose a new assembly president.

The post is reportedly being sought by his son-in-law, Edouard Fritch, who would then have to relinquish the vice-presidency.

This would trigger a re-shuffle and pave the way for Mr Flosse to become the vice-president as part of the power-sharing deal of the current coalition.