PRESIDENT FLOSSE CONTINUES PUSH FOR INCREASED SEATS IN FRENCH POLYNESIA’S

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PARIS, France (November 17, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The President of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, is in Paris to continue to promote a proposed increase in the number of seats in French Polynesia’s Territorial Assembly.

Mr. Flosse, who also is awaiting a Paris court decision on corruption charges against him, wants to increase representation from the outer islands.

But opposition parties want a reduction of seats in favor of an increase for the more populated Windward Islands group.

Opposition leader Emile Vernaudon says Mr. Flosse wants to worsen an already unfair system.

"With 26,000 people, the outer islands currently hold 19 of the 41 seats in the territorial assembly. So a candidate is elected with only 500 or 600 votes.

"On the other hand, in the Windward group in Tahiti, a candidate needs over 5,000 votes to get a seat in the Territorial Assembly.

"So something is clearly wrong," according to Vernaudon.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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