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Business as usual?

Pacific challenges for new French President

FRANCE Has a new Presiden after mainstream parties fell by the wayside during last month’s presidential elections. Incoming President Emmanuel Macron saw off a strong challenge by Marine Le Pen of the extreme-Right Front National (FN).  

Macron’s victory means that it will be business as usual in the Pacific, reinforcing the improved relationship between France and Forum member countries. Macron will continue many of the policies towards the region initiated by outgoing Socialist Party president Pacific challenges for new French President By Nic Maclellan Politics François Hollande, on climate change, New Caledonia, support for the European Development Fund and arms sales to Australia.

But with French voters deeply divided over the country’s future, it will be harder for the new President to address complex challenges facing French colonialism in the Pacific. Voters go to the polls again in June for the French National Assembly, and Macron may face a hostile majority in the legislature, even as New Caledonia moves towards a referendum on selfdetermination in late 2018. President Macron will follow Hollande’s policy of making climate change the centrepiece of France’s charm offensive in the Pacific. 

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