There are claims of foul play in French Polynesia’s territorial election which have prompted calls to cancel last month’s first round on one island. With the ruling party standing nine candidates with criminal convictions for corruption, a movement is taking hold to urge voters to cast blank ballots. Campaigning is continuing for this weekend’s second round and there is tough talk. The Tahoeraa Huiraatira party is warning of riots in Tahiti of the kind seen in 1995 if the rival Tapura Huiraatira party stays in power for another term.
The Tahoeraa leader Gaston Flosse told a news conference that there has to be a drastic change which the Tapura won’t deliver. “There are 55,000 people out of work who are starving. Do you think they will keep starving for another 10 years?” he asked.
The Tahoeraa, which had been the big winner of the last election in 2013, is desperate to return to power and to do so, it only needs to come first in this weekend’s run-off round.
Under the current electoral system, the winner will get an absolute majority in the 57-member assembly because the party coming first gets a 19-seat bonus. Paris first introduced this system in 2004 but then changed it three times in five years.