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  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Frédéric Angleviel (bio)

On Sunday, 1 April 2007, the 11,165 registered voters in Wallis and Futuna elected the twenty members of the Territorial Assembly. Thirteen of the twenty incumbent assembly members were part of the national presidential majority lead by Ermenegilde Simete (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire [UMP], from Mua). The archipelago is divided into five electoral constituencies, with thirteen territorial representative seats for the three Wallisian districts (Mua, Hahake, and Hihifo), and seven seats for the two kingdoms of Futuna (Sigave and Alo). Twenty-six party lists were filed for these elections just before the proportional vote. Three women were listed at the head of their parties along with Victor Brial, the UMP territorial deputy.

An audiovisual campaign, monitored by the French media authority (Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel [CSA]), was broadcast by RFO (Réseau France Outre-mer) on both radio and television—the only media currently available there. This was the second time this had occurred in Wallis and Futuna. Unfortunately, a breakdown in the aging plane that provides domestic flights for the two-hundred-thirty kilometer journey between Wallis and Futuna caused a problem for certain candidates in recording campaign messages.

While the health of the elderly lavelua (paramount chief, or king) remained precarious (see the account of the 2005 customary law crisis in Angleviel 2006), the question of his succession was not an issue in this campaign. The rate of voter participation, always very high, was 75 percent. Twenty of the twenty-six party lists obtained a seat. Seventeen incumbent representatives ran for reelection, and fourteen of them succeeded. Two women were voted into the new assembly with a five-year mandate. Ermenegilde Simete was reelected, despite being beaten by Donald Mercier (a candidate with Socialist leanings) in Mua. Simete won 481 votes, compared to his competitor's 392. UMP deputy Victor Brial came in first in the Sigave electorate with 309 votes. The departing UMP majority representatives were either directly reelected (as was the case for ten of them), or replaced by new representatives also favoring this majority.

Due to the wide range of voting possibilities, negotiations were held to strengthen the UMP majority. The UMP/consolidated right parties came out slightly ahead in the end, winning twelve seats to the Socialist/consolidated left's eight seats. On 11 April, Pesamino Taputai, a member of the UDF (Union pour la démocratie française)–MoDem (Mouvement [End Page 251] démocrate), a centralist party, became president of the Territorial Assembly, with Victor Brial elected vice president, and Ermenegilde Simete president of the permanent commission.

On 22 April 2007, 7,208 voters (64.5 percent) went to the polls for the French presidential elections, with the following results: Olivier Besancenot 71 votes (0.99 percent); Marie-George Buffet 40 votes (0.56 percent); Gérard Schivardi 15 votes (0.21 percent); François Bayrou 804 (11.20 percent); José Bove 41 votes (0.57 percent); Dominique Voynet 60 votes (0.84 percent); Philippe de Villiers 14 votes (0.20 percent); Ségolène Royal 2,832 votes (39.46 percent); Frédéric Nihous 25 votes (0.35 percent); Jean-Marie Le Pen 86 votes (1.20 percent); Arlette LaGuiller 63 votes (0.88 percent); and Nicolas Sarkozy 3,125 votes (43.55 percent).

Sixty-nine percent of Wallisians and Futunians turned out to vote during the second round of the presidential election on 6 May 2007; 3,866 voted for Nicolas Sarkozy (50.17 percent), while 3,840 voted for Ségolène Royal. There has been a clear shift in Wallis and Futuna toward the left, which may be due either to a change in attitude or to voters being weary of the principal local authorities, who have been in office for a long time.

The victory of the departing UMP deputy following the presidential elections seemed to be a foregone conclusion in June 2007. However, surprisingly, Victor Brial was beaten by Socialist Albert Likuvalu. This result was due to declining support for those in power too long (which is often a problem in small insular areas), as well as a combination of several other factors...


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