French Pacific vote supports Macron for president but a drop in turnout

President Emmanuel Macron in New Caledonia
President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to New Caledonia in 2018 ... strong presidential election support in New Caledonia among voters last Sunday - in spite of a boycott - and in Wallis and Futuna, but weaker backing in French Polynesia. Image: RNZ/AFP

RNZ Pacific

The French Pacific territories have shown their support for President Emmanuel Macron at the polls, but with a much lower voter turnout than has been usual.

Macron captured 61 percent of New Caledonia’s votes overall in the presidential election final stage last Sunday, while far-right candidate Marine Le Pen scored 39 percent.

Across New Caledonia’s provinces, Macron took 75 percent of the votes in Loyalty Island, 61 percent in the South, and 64 percent in the North.

Voter turnout varied across the provinces with the South recording the biggest turnout, 44 percent. In contrast, the North only recorded 15 percent and the Loyalty Islands a mere 5 percent.

The low turnout in the North and Loyalty Islands may be the result of the high numbers of pro-independence supporters in those electorates.

Pro-independence voters may have boycotted this election, as they did the final independence referendum in December 2021.

This year, during the first round of the presidential election, pro-independence leaders urged supporters to back left-wing candidates ahead of centrist Macron or any perceived right-wingers.

Call to boycott second round
Pro-independence leaders also urged supporters to boycott the second round.

In French Polynesia, the election results were more polarised between Le Pen and Macron.

Macron won 51 percent of the territory’s total votes which equated to 31 out of 48 districts.

Marine Le Pen’s total voters were only 3000 less than Macron; she won 48 percent of the overall vote and 17 districts.

Figures show Le Pen going from 12,000 votes for the first round to 28,000 votes in the second round. She obtained the majority of votes in several districts of the island of Tahiti.

The highest voter turnout was recorded in the Marquesas Islands, Gambier Islands, and Tuomotu Islands. Hikueru Atoll recorded an 85 percent turnout.

The Mayor of Faa’a, Oscar Manutahi Temaru, said many voters he had spoken to, including police officers and teachers, were not voting for Macron.

In contrast, Wallis and Futuna voters were extremely supportive of Macron. The President won 67 percent of the vote, while 32 percent voted for Le Pen.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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