Kanak union holds pre-referendum Congress

Protestors in Noumea the Commission politique et citoyenneté du FLNKS et Nationalistes tweeted - "The protest for a right to vote," with an FLNKS flag emoticon. Picture: RNZ

New Caledonia’s USTKE union is to decide this weekend whether it will ask its supporters to vote in the November referendum on independence from France.

USTKE, which is a mainly Kanak union advocating independence, holds its 16th Congress in Noumea over the next two days.

The Labour Party, which is the union’s political wing, decided in July that it won’t take part in the referendum after taking issue with the conditions surrounding it.

The leader of the party, which has two of the 54 seats in the Congress, said that as the colonised people, the Kanaks don’t want to be associated with what he calls an electoral farce.

The union says it will discuss the issue and its members will vote on it.

Opinion polls suggest a resounding victory for the anti-independence camp.

In the last referendum on independence in 1987, which faced a boycott by the Kanak side, more than 98 percent voted in favour of remaining French.

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