French PM urges New Caledonia leaders to make referendum a success

Edouard Philippe in New Caledonia. Photo: AFP/RNZ PACIFIC

NOUMEA – The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has called on New Caledonian leaders to work towards making this year’s independence referendum a success.

His statement comes after several anti-independence members of a group appointed by him quit it.

This dialogue forum has been tasked with discussing the referendum’s aftermath.

The vote is due on 04 November and will determine whether New Caledonia will assume full sovereignty.

One of the politicians to quit the group, Pierre Frogier, says the French is manipulating the process and doing its bit to disengage the public.

Philippe says the group should in no way pre-empt the vote’s outcome.

The last independence referendum was held in 1987 when an overwhelming majority voted to stay with France.