8 Jun 2009

New Caledonia's Ponga new Pacific member in European parliament

2:10 pm on 8 June 2009

Voters in the France's overseas territories have elected a New Caledonian politician, Maurice Ponga, as the Pacific's member of the 736-strong European parliament.

Mr Ponga, who has been a minister in the territorial administration, had the backing of France's ruling UMP Party.

Under a new formula for the three French overseas seats, one seat was assured to be filled by a Pacific politician after the 2004 poll saw all three go to politicians from La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

The French electorate gets to elect a total of 72 MPs.

Turn-out in New Caledonia was just under 22 percent and French Polynesia just over 22 percent.

In Wallis and Futuna turnout was above 40 percent which is higher than the average in mainland France.