SEARCH FOR MISSING PLANE IN FRENCH POLYNESIA ENDS

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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (May 30, 2002 - Tahitipresse)---The search for a twin-engine plane that disappeared over the Tuamotu Archipelago a week ago Thursday has been called off.

France's high commissioner in Pape‘ete, Michel Mathieu, said officials now will rely on the "eyes and ears" of the Tuamotu inhabitants to find any signs of the plane, the pilot and the four prominent Fetia Api party politicians aboard.

Some French Army planes and helicopters will remain on Tahiti, about 280 miles from the search zone, ready to fly back to the Tuamotus if necessary, he added.

"Since the plane disappeared, people are aware that it is important to look around them wherever they go," said Edouard Temere, mayor of Kauehi.

Kauehi is an island located near Katiu, where the ill-fated plane intended to land.

French soldiers toured Kauehi with great difficulty, "sometimes with water up to their waist," said a military official.

Antonio Perez, a Fetia Api MP in the Assembly of Polynesia, said, "I am still shocked by what happened. I am completely exhausted but I know that, as a politician, I have to be strong", he said.

The plane carried Fetia Api president Boris Leontieff and two Fetia Api French National Assembly candidates, Arsen Tuairau and Ferfine Besseyre. Also aboard was the mayor of Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands Lucien Kimitete.

Despite the candidates’ disappearance, elections still will take place June 1 and 15 in French Polynesia, announced French minister for Overseas Territories, Brigitte Girardin, in Paris.

 

FRENCH POLYNESIA ELECTS TWO BUILLARD AND VERNAUDON TO THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (June 2, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---Michel Buillard and Beatrice Vernaudon, from Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, were elected Saturday to represent French Polynesia in the French National Assembly.

Michel Buillard, who has been a member of the assembly since 1997, obtained 62% of the votes in the First Constituency (west coast of Tahiti, Austral and Leeward islands) and Beatrice Vernaudon obtained 56.4% of the votes in the second constituency (east coast of Tahiti, Tuamotu and Marquesas islands).

They are the first representatives elected to the French National Assembly as the polling in French Polynesia took place one week before France and the other overseas territories vote.

French Polynesia elects two of the French 577 MP's.

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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