French Polynesia's Oscar Temaru appears to be struggling to secure the backing needed to stand in next month's French presidential election.
An update by the French Constitutional Council said it had so far validated only 36 names in support of Tahiti's pro-independence leader who last month announced that he had secured the 500 backers needed to run.
Less than a week remains for the more than 40 candidates to secure the authorised and approved signatures of the special electors, who include parliamentarians and mayors, to get onto the ballot paper.
Electors of French Polynesia's anti-independence Tahoeraa Huiraatira have in large numbers opted to back France's right-wing leader Marine Le Pen.
Mr Temaru has said should he win most votes in French Polynesia he would consider the result to be the basis for a declaration of sovereignty.
The two top candidates will go through to a run-off vote in May to determine the successor of François Hollande.