31 Mar 2014

New Caledonia elects first woman mayor

9:49 am on 31 March 2014

New Caledonia's capital has elected its first woman mayor in the second round of the municipal elections.

According to preliminary results, Sonia Largarde of the Caledonia Together Party has improved her result of the first round and won the Noumea race against Gael Yanno of the alliance linked to the French UMP.

She replaces Jean Leques of the rival traditional anti-independence group who had been at the city's helm since 1986.

As a result of her success, Mrs Lagarde will have to quit the seat in the French National Assembly she won two years ago.

One of the territory's members of the French Senate, Hilarion Vendegou, has lost the Isle of Pines mayoralty to his challenger of the pro-independence camp.

In French Polynesia, attention in today's run-off is focussed on the contest for the mayoralty of Papeete.