Claims of flaw in poll

FRENCH Polynesia’s Tahoeraa Huiraatira party says there have been a number of irregularities on part of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira in the first round of voting for a new territorial assembly and complaints will be lodged.

The party held a news conference at which it alleged that the Bora Bora mayor Gaston Tong Sang asked polling staff to allow voters to cast their ballots without showing any identification.

It claims the mayor of Huahine tried to influence voters by giving away fuel from the petrol station he owns, and by donating chicken and other meat.

The Tahoeraa also said the mayor of Makemo made a death threat against one of its activists.

It has castigated the Tapura for standing nine candidates with criminal convictions for abusing public funds, including the president Edouard Fritch.

The Tahoeraa’s top candidate Geffry Salmon, who was jailed as part of a corruption investigation, said he had no criminal record.

He said Mr Fritch was disbursing millions of dollars worth of materials in a way which surpasses his master.

For decades Mr Fritch was the deputy Tahoeraa leader behind Gaston Flosse who was banned from office because of a corruption conviction.

The second round of voting will be on May 6.

If the Tapura maintains its momentum from the first round, it will be returned to power with an increased majority.