21 Mar 2014

New Caledonia prepares for weekend's municipal elections

6:26 am on 21 March 2014

New Caledonia is gearing up for this weekend's municipal elections, seen as a test run for the provincial elections in May.

150 lists are contesting the 33 municipal elections, which have a strong focus on the capital and its immediate suburbs.

The city's long-term mayor, Jean Leques, won't seek re-election, opening the contest for rival anti-independence politicians.

Among those seeking office are Sonia Lagarde, who is one of the territory's members of the French National Assembly, and her predecessor in the Paris post, Gael Yanno.

The results are expected to indicate how the vote will go in May when a new Congress is to be elected to oversee the last phase of the Noumea Accord.