10 Mar 2008

New Caledonia holds municipal elections

2:04 pm on 10 March 2008

In the municipal elections in New Caledonia, Jean Leques of the UMP has for the first time since 1986 failed to win the mayoralty of Noumea in the first round of voting.

The 77-year-old, who is seeking a fifth term, won just under 44 percent of the votes as he was challenged by a rival UMP politician, Simon Loueckhote, who scored more than 12 percent of the vote.

Sonia Lagarde came second with just under 25 percent.

The pro-independence FLNKS movement retained its positions across the northern province but added the Ile of Pines in the south.

Contesting the polls for the first time, the USTKE union's Labour Party did well in Lifou.

French Polynesian voters go to the polls today.