Tapura candidates lead in Tahiti's French election

6:27 am on 5 June 2017

French Polynesians have given strong support to candidates of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party in the first round of the French National Assembly election.

Maina Sage, Nicole Sanquer and Patrick Howell have come first in the three electorates whose polls were held a week earlier than in the rest of France.

In the run-off vote in two weeks, the three will face Moana Greig and Teura Iriti of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party and Moetai Brotherson of the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party.

The three top candidates are expected to line up in the camp of President Emmanuel Macron if they win their seats despite his party not endorsing them.

Only the National Front and France Untamed backed candidates in French Polynesia but they received less than two percent of the vote.

The election was held a week early to allow campaign material to be delivered to all the voters across the scattered islands for the decisive second round.

French Polynesia. Papeete waterfront

French Polynesia, Papeete waterfront Photo: RNZ