18 Mar 2020

New Caledonia mayors oppose election delay

7:10 pm on 18 March 2020

Mayors in New Caledonia say the second round of the municipal elections should go ahead this Sunday as originally planned.


Noumea Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

The mayors made the call after the French president postponed the second round because of the coronavirus outbreak.

They said in the absence of a confirmed coronavirus case in New Caledonia, polling would pose a low risk to the voting public.

Deferring the elections to June would bring them too close to the September referendum on independence from France, they said.

Communes would then be locked into a spiral of campaigning which could distract from the challenges at hand, the mayors said.

A second round of voting is still required in 22 of New Caledonia's 33 communes.

Among those winning an absolute majority in last weekend's first round was the re-elected Noumea mayor Sonia Lagarde

Sonia Lagarde of the Caledonia Together Party and New Caledonia mayor 2015

Sonia Lagarde Photo: AFP