Aug 06, 2020 Last Updated 5:12 AM, Aug 6, 2020

New Caledonia leaders bridge political divide

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls greets delegates at last month’s meeting in New Caledonia. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls greets delegates at last month’s meeting in New Caledonia. Photo: FRENCH GOVERNMENT
Published in 2015 July
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FOR months, Noumea’s political elite has been deeply divided. From January to April, New Caledonia was without a President, with the country’s multi-party government riven by bitter disputes between leading anti-independence politicians.

After an important meeting in Paris last month, however, there are signs that a looming referendum on New Caledonia’s political future is forcing leaders to compromise. After 12 hours of discussions on 5 June hosted by the French Prime Minister, political leaders from the French Pacific dependency have come together, to forge a new agreement on voting rights for New Caledonia’s proposed referendum on self-determination.

Under the Noumea Accord, New Caledonia’s Congress can, by three-fifths majority, set the date for a referendum. If they are unable to do so, the French government must organise a referendum before the end of 2018, with two more votes possible in subsequent years. But who is eligible to vote for New Caledonia’s crucial decision on decolonisation?

To resolve long-standing disputes over voting rights, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls hosted a significant meeting at the Hotel de Matignon on 5 June, involving key leaders from across the political spectrum.

As well as the original signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord, the special summit included the presidents of New Caledonia’s three provinces; New Caledonia’s elected representatives in the French National Assembly and Senate; and the heads of all major political groupings represented in New Caledonia’s national Congress.

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by Nic Maclellan

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 12:40
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