NEW FRENCH POLYNESIA VOTING IRREGULARITY CHARGES

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PAPEETE, French Polynesia (May 27, 1998 - Radio Australia)---French Polynesia's ruling party, the Tahoeraa Huiraatira, has been accused of vote-buying in this week's by-elections.

The by-elections were held for 11 of the Territorial Assembly's 41 seats, after French courts canceled the results of a polling in 1996 because of electoral fraud and voting irregularities.

This week the ruling party won eight of the 11 seats being contested, giving it a majority 25 of the 41 assembly seats. But a spokesman for the pro-independence Tavini party, Nelson Ortas, says there has been a repeat of the behavior that led to the 1996 voting results being canceled.

"There are again allegations of the Gaston Flosse party giving away social housing to individuals on the day of the election and other things, and this is considered reason for nullifying again these elections, because it is like you are paying off people to vote for you, and in any democratic society this is unacceptable."

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