Pro-independence candidates in Tahiti win seats in French National Assembly

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In an unprecedented result, French Polynesia’s three seats in the French National Assembly have been won by the candidates of the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party.

Among the three is Tematai Le Gayic, who as a 21-year-old has become the youngest person to be elected to the French legislature.

Provisional results show he narrowly defeated Nicole Bouteau of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party, who had clearly won the first round two weeks ago.

Tavini’s Moetai Brotherson was re-elected for a second term, and he will be joined by Steve Chailloux.

In a first reaction, President Edouard Fritch said the defeated Tapura candidates were aligned with the majority of President Emmanuel Macron, which raises the question of how French Polynesia can push its concerns in Paris and how it can ask for France’s support.

Meanwhile, Unofficial results show New Caledonia’s anti-independence candidates have retained the territory’s two seats in the French National Assembly, defeating the challengers of the pro-independence FLNKS.

Philippe Dunoyer was re-elected for a second five-year term, standing for a four-party coalition tied to the French president Emmanuel Macron.

Winning about two thirds of the votes, he defeated Wali Wahetra in the constituency which includes Noumea and the outer islands.

In the other constituency, the mayor of La Foa, Nicolas Metzdorf, defeated the FLNKS’s Gerard Reignier.

The results show a deep divide between the two sides, with Reignier securing more than 96 percent of the votes in mainly Kanak electorates.

The National Assembly election is open to all French citizens in difference to the referendums and New Caledonia’s provincial elections which have rolls restricted to indigenous people and long-term residents.

In another development, the candidate of the ruling majority in Wallis and Futuna Mikaele Seo has won the territory’s seat in the French National Assembly.

Seo beat the opposition backed Etuato Mulukihaamea by just 70 votes, which is a score so tight that it may get challenged.

Seo, who is the president of the permanent commission of the assembly of Wallis and Futuna, had already been in the Paris seat since 2019 after the last winner Sylvain Brial fell ill and had to quit his post.

Mulikihaamea is the head of the local Olympic committee and is known for his engagement in rugby.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS