France’s UDI party wants New Caledonia to remain French

NOUMEA (RNZ PACIFIC) – The head of France’s centrist UDI party has expressed his wish that New Caledonia remains French after the November independence referendum.

Jean-Christophe Lagarde made the comment in Noumea at the end of his visit, accompanied by Senators of his party.

He said while he hoped the territory stayed French it would be up to New Caledonians to make a choice.

After the collapse of the informal anti-independence coalition and the apparent demise of a local cross-party top forum, Lagarde said he regretted the lack of dialogue.

Some of New Caledonia’s representatives in Paris, who belong to the UDI faction, are at odds with other anti-independence politicians over the decolonisation process.

Lagarde said it appeared instead of focusing on the referendum, those opposed to a broad dialogue were already campaigning for next year’s provincial elections.