Sunday, April 28, 2013

Random News Generator- French Polynesia

Normally the tiny island nations prove frustrating for me when their number comes up in the RNG. Often there is very little going on. On French Polynesia, though, we actually have election coverage, as they happen to be in the middle of legislative elections.

So here's how things work there. There's a multiparty parliamentary system in place (as in, you vote for the party and then they pick the names), but the first of two rounds- which took place last week- is effectively a qualifying round. Your party has to get 12.5% of the vote in order to be eligible for seats. If you get between 5% and 12.5%, you're allowed to align with a party that did get over 12.5%. Below 5%, you're SOL. Round 2 is when the qualifying parties actually divvy up the seats. One-third of the seats (19 of them) are given to the party that comes in first; the other two-thirds (38 seats) are handed out proportionally. The president is the leader of the ruling party.

In this particular election, three parties crossed 12.5%, and only one other crossed 5%. The leader, with 40.16% of the vote, is Tahoera'a Huiraatira. with runner-up incumbent Union For Democracy clocking in at 24%.

Round 2 is May 5. This guy has the second round as today; he messed up there but otherwise has a pretty decent writeup. Oscar Temaru is currently president, and it's not much of a surprise that he's headed for defeat as, while he's been president five times, the reason he's been president five times is that he's been ousted four times, and heading towards a fifth. Two of those times, he's been replaced by a man named Gaston Flosse; Flosse currently represents French Polynesia in France's Senate.

A main difference between the two is their stance on French Polynesia's relationship with France. Temaru would like for French Polynesia to declare independence, while Flosse has no problem with French Polynesia remaining a dependency. The global recession kept tourists from stopping by, and subsidy money from France has helped keep the place afloat; as a result, independence has been seen by voters as not a very hot idea right now. Flosse, for his part, has already been given a four-year suspended prison sentence for corruption in February which is currently under appeal and has suspected involvement in the 1997 murder of a Tahitian journalist hanging over his head, but if the first round carries over to the second, the voters will seemingly take the corrupt maybe-murderer over ill-timed independence.

Until they want the independence over the corruption again. Give it another election; they might change their minds.

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