French Polynesia Elects New French Senators

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In defeat for Flosse, Vice-President expelled from party, wins

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 4, 2015) – French Polynesia has elected the vice-president, Nuihau Laurey, and an assembly member, Lana Tetuanui, as the territory's two new members of the French Senate.

The two replace Teura Iriti and Vincent Dubois whose election was annulled in February after a French court ruled that a march by hundreds of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira supporters to the polling station on election day amounted to undue pressure on the 700-strong electoral college.

Today, the college gave fewer votes to Mrs Iriti and Mr Dubois in what also amounts to a defeat for the Tahoeraa leader, Gaston Flosse.

Last month, Flosse expelled Mr Laurey and Mrs Tetuanui from the party after they announced plans to run for the Senate seats.

The two successful candidates have had the support of the president, Edouard Fritch, whose authority has been challenged by Flosse and his backers.

Flosse has described today's result as the biggest betrayal of his political career.

He has been out of office since last year when he was given a suspended prison sentence for corruption.

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