France votes, Marine Le Pen can break the taboo. Turnout booms: at 5pm it almost reaches 60%


By John

High turnout today in New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific, for the first round of an election that could give France for the first time a far-right government cohabiting with President Emmanuel Macron. “Estimated turnout at 12:00 (3:00 in Italy) was 32.39%. In the previous elections, in 2022, it had been 13.06% and 15.76% in 2017,” the High Commissioner of the Republic announced in a statement. “The vote is taking place by a large majority, without incident and in a safe manner,” he added, at a time when tensions remain high in the archipelago after the unrest caused by the electoral reform rejected by the pro-independence movement.

Some 229,000 New Caledonians were called to the polls to elect two deputies for the French territory. When the polls opened at 7:00 local time, long queues formed at various polling stations in Noumea, an AFP journalist noted. The polling stations will close at 17:00 local time (8:00 in Italy). The High Commissioner said the only incident occurred in Houaïlou, a town on the east coast of the archipelago, where “access to the town hall was blocked by demonstrators who prevented the opening of the various polling stations and therefore the voting process”. The situation “has not yet stabilized in the town”, the statement continued. Last night, the Houaïlou gendarmerie was also the target of “violent attacks, with the use of a bomb to damage the premises”.