Mixed reaction in Wallis and Futuna to Roch Wamytan’s Congress win

Roch Wamytan
Pro-independence leader Roch Wamytan ... surprise election as the New Caledonian Congress president. Image: David Robie/PMC

By RNZ Pacific

There has been a mixed response in Wallis and Futuna to last week’s election of a pro-independence politician as Congress president of New Caledonia.

Roch Wamytan was elected after the new Pacific Awakening party, launched by the Wallisian and Futunian community, defied expectations and refused to endorse the anti-independence camp’s candidate Magali Manuohalolo, who is also an ethnic Futunian.

The public broadcaster on Wallis quoted a customary leader as saying he hoped the vote would not mark a step towards New Caledonia’s independence.

READ MORE: New ‘anti’ force shakes up New Caledonian political landscape

Others welcomed the electoral alliance as a novel sign of cooperation among Pacific Islanders.

The move is also being seen as a sign of emancipation of the community from Wallis and Futuna in New Caledonia’s society.

There has been a suggestion that the leader of Pacific Awakening, Milakulo Tukumuli, be made a member of the territorial government.

A new government is expected to be formed in the next two weeks.

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