The French Pacific collectivity Wallis and Futuna will hold elections today for its territorial assembly’s 20 seats. The assembly’s laws
The French Pacific collectivity Wallis and Futuna will hold elections today for its territorial assembly’s 20 seats.
The assembly’s laws focus mainly on social and economic issues and must be approved by the collectivity’s administrator, Herve Jonathan—the representative of French President Emmanuel Macron. Paris, through the administrator, has overall responsibility for international relations, defense and trade.
This system reflects dominant loyalist sentiment in the territory. Of the French Pacific territories, Wallis and Futuna is the least likely to support independence.
Therefore, expect the major election issues to focus on costs of living and youth unemployment, perennial issues for the isolated Polynesian territory. As the spike in the international price of oil has caused inflation, food and transport costs are likely to present ongoing challenges to any new government.
Thus, expect increased economic support from Paris. France’s COVID-19 budgetary support for overseas collectivities like Wallis and Futuna amounted to nearly $2 billion in 2020 for infrastructure—especially sanitation—as well as agricultural projects and direct budget support.
In a presidential election year, with the territory voting nearly 80% for Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the difficult economic outlook ahead will likely tilt political sentiment even more in favor of France.
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