MISSING PLANE IN FRENCH POLYNESIA MAY AFFECT ELECTION

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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (May 27, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---The search for the plane that disappeared last Thursday in the Tuamotu Archipelago is continuing, France's High Commissioner Michel Mathieu announced.

But there is no sign of the aircraft or its occupants.

The plane carried five people -- the pilot and four politicians from the pro-autonomy Fetia Api Party, including party president Boris Leontieff.

Two of the passengers were candidates for next month's French National Assembly election, Arsen Tuairau and Ferfine Besseyre.

Their disappearance may affect the election date, which is scheduled to take place next Saturday, June 1, in French Polynesia.

The State Council in Paris is studying the matter.

According to political sources in Pape‘ete, the voting might be postponed to the school holiday period, July and August, in French Polynesia.

The territory is to elect two of the 577 representatives in the French National Assembly.

Meantime, all political meetings in French Polynesia have been cancelled since the plane disappeared.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

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