On Sunday, voters in France overwhelmingly endorsed centrist candidates in the first round of legislative elections. President Emmanuel Macron’s brand new En Marche party looks set to win a commanding majority in the second round, two weeks from now, but results in France’s Pacific territories are more muddled; Neal Conan has more in today’s Pacific News Minute.
En Marche didn’t exist fourteen months ago and barely focused on France’s Overseas territories as it scrambled to elect first President Emmanuel Macron, and now a slate of mostly new and unconventional legislative candidates.
En Marche made no endorsement for any of the six seats in French Pacific territories in the first round, but has now settled on establishment candidates in French Polynesia. It might sound strange that a party that’s looked for newcomers in France itself is backing members of the ruling party in French Polynesia, but an En Marche spokesman in Tahiti explained the decision as a process of elimination. En Marche opposes independence, he told Radio New Zealand, which ruled out one alternative candidate - the other two are anti-independence, but come from the party that backed far right wing candidate Marine Le Pen against Macron.
En Marche has made no endorsement for New Caledonia’s two seats. There was an exceptionally low turnout in the first round there after the main pro-independence party called for a boycott. Candidates of the anti-independence Caledonia Together party lead for both seats. In tiny Wallis and Futuna, incumbent leftist Napole Polutele secured his re-election in the first round, with just over 50 percent of the vote .