23 Apr 2007

French Pacific also votes for Sarkozy and Royal as top contenders for French presidency

10:35 am on 23 April 2007

Voters in the French Pacific communities have chosen the UMP candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Segolene Royal of the Socialist Party as the two top candidates in the first round of the French presidential elections.

This reflects the result across France where 12 candidates have been contesting the five-year Presidency which is being vacated by Jacques Chirac.

In New Caledonia, Mr Sarkozy won almost 50 percent of the votes while Ms Royal secured less than 24 percent of the votes.

In French Polynesia, Mr Sarkozy won 45 percent while Ms Royal won 42 percent of the votes.

In Wallis and Futuna, Mr Sarkozy won just under 44 percent while Ms Royal secured just under 40 percent of the votes.

The turnout was much higher than five years ago but still well below the figures attained in mainland France.

The second round of voting will be held in two weeks.

Under a new system introduced after the 2002 election and taking into account the time differences, voters in French Polynesia and in the

French Caribbean went to the polls a day earlier than in France as not to vote while knowing the preliminary results tallied in Paris.

The votes in French Polynesia were counted last night but the results were withheld until the end of polling.

In 2002, voting in Tahiti got under way with voters already knowing that Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen were headed for the run-off