As the French Pacific is gearing up for Sunday’s first round of the French presidential election, incumbent President Emmanuel Macron appears to be enjoying the most support among the 14 candidates.
Committees set up in support of Macron have been campaigning with the backing of those in power in New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
However, pro-independence parties have remained aloof, either declining to express a preference for any of the candidates or suggesting the election be ignored altogether.
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However, pro-independence Palika has called on people to vote for “any Left politician” in the first round on Sunday.
Candidates include Marine Le Pen of the National Rally, who is running for a third time, Valerie Pecresse of the Republicans and Jean-Luc Melenchon, who heads the left-wing La France Insoumise movement.
In the 2017 election, Macron defeated Le Pen nationwide, winning 66 percent of the votes.
In Wallis and Futuna, his victory was even more decisive as he won almost 80 percent of the vote.
Smallest vote in New Caledonia
In French Polynesia, Macron won 58 percent, while in New Caledonia, his score was 52 percent.
With 48 percent voting for Le Pen, her score in New Caledonia was her best result of any French overseas territory.
In the Noumea area, which wants close links with Paris, she won more votes than Macron
Anti-independence side backs Macron
In the run-up to this year’s election, Noumea-based anti-independence politicians set up a Macron re-election committee, headed by Mayor Sonia Lagarde.
The committee was formed in December, weeks before Macron confirmed that he would stand for a second term, and just days after 96 percent voted against independence from France in a referendum boycotted by the pro-independence camp.
Lagarde hailed Macron’s support for New Caledonia as flawless, saying the referendum decision to stay with France was due to his commitment.
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After meeting Macron in Paris in January, the president of New Caledonia’s Southern Province, Sonia Backes, said she would also support him, praising his engagement as a key factor in winning the referendum.
In an interview this week, Backes said that in 2017 she abstained because she refused to vote for either Le Pen or Macron.
She said what had turned her off Macron was his declaration in Algeria, when he said colonialism was a crime against humanity.