18 Jun 2007

UMP holds seats in French Polynesia and New Caledonia, but not Wallis and Futuna

2:33 pm on 18 June 2007

Voters in the French Pacific territory of Wallis and Futuna have made an abrupt change in direction, choosing a socialist candidate to represent them in the French Assembly.

Socialist Albert Likuvalu defeated the incumbent, the UMP's Victor Brial in an upset.

But, the ruling conservative UMP party retains a majority in France's 577 seat Assembly with French Polynesia and New Caldedonia returning UMP candidates.

In New Caledonia, the incumbent Pierre Frogier retained his seat.

He is joined by the deputy lord mayor of Noumea, Gael Yanno.

In French Polynesia, the lord mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard, also retained his seat and he is joined by newcomer, Bruno Sandras, who had served in several territorial governments under Gaston Flosse.

But as French Pacific journalist, Patrick Decloitre, says, the result in Wallis and Futuna, was something of a shock.

"It is quite a major surprise because Wallis and Futuna has always been much in favour of the rightwing parties, opposed to any sort of independence, that sort of stance."