Independents in French Polynesia win majority in elections

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The separatists won elections in French Polynesia, France’s Pacific region, to dominate affairs in the archipelago for the next five years and pave the way for a referendum on their status, according to results announced Monday. .

The Tavini Huiratira Party, led by former Overseas Territories leader Oscar Temar, won 44.3% of the vote in Sunday’s second round and is on track to win an absolute majority of 38 of the 57 seats in local councils.

According to official results, the party defeated pro-independence President Eduardo Frich, who won 38.5% of the vote (16 seats), and former pro-independence Vice President Nuihau Laurey (17.1%, 3 seats).

Tavini He is expected to nominate Moetai Brotherson, who will now head the Papeete-based local government.

The result will allow the pro-independence forces to press French authorities to negotiate a referendum on the status of the territory in the northeast of New Zealand with a population of about 280,000.

‘I’m not going to be independent tomorrow or next week,’ Brotherson told TV channel TNTV“There’s nothing wrong with working with the (French) states, and it won’t change tomorrow.”

France’s Interior Minister in charge of the Overseas Territories, Gerard Dalmanin, said Polynesians “voted for change” and the French government recognized their “democratic choice”.

Officials in charge of voter identities during the first round of territorial elections in Punaauia, French Overseas Territory of Tahiti, April 16, 2023. AFP – Surianne Favenneck

strategic position

But the result is a blow to the government of President Emmanuel Macron, which seeks to project France as a Pacific regional power for its strategic overseas territories.

France has always refused referendums French PolynesiaIndependence has been repeatedly rejected in other major Pacific referendums in New Caledonia.

This is the first time an independent faction has ruled French Polynesia with an absolute majority, and has previously been forced into weak alliances.

French Polynesia is one of several French overseas territories straddling the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, and Paris has a global footprint unlike any other European country.

Polynesia’s vote came amid ongoing controversy over operations on the island in the French Indian Ocean. Mayotte Clean out the slums and stop illegal immigration.

(with AFP) Independents in French Polynesia win majority in elections

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