Independence referendum

An anti-independence political bloc in New Caledonia has dismissed suggestions to create a state associated with France.

Looking ahead to next year’s independence referendum, a former French justice minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the territory could consider options such as becoming a state in free association with France or for New Caledonia and France to form a federation.

But in a statement, the Caledonian Republicans said there was nobody in France who would want to see France enter into a federal system which would have then to apply to all regions.

They also said this would imply some sort of associated state, but just under another name.

They said these options would lead New Caledonia to an irreversible new status in exchange for an unstable and fragile relationship with France.

Mr Urvoas, who is a former head of the law commission of the French National Assembly, warned of the risks of a poorly prepared referendum as it could blow up the territory.

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