New Caledonia politicians seek clarification on 2019 elections

The New Caledonia pro-independence politician, Jean-Pierre Djaiwe. Photo: AFP

NOUMEA, 08 AUGUST 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – A New Caledonia pro-independence politician is trying to clarify with Paris whether next year’s provincial elections will go ahead.

The spokesperson with for the Palika Party, Jean-Pierre Djaiwe, has said the issue was raised in a recent meeting of pro-independence leaders with French prime minister Edouard Philippe.

Djaiwe told local media the Noumea Accord, which ends with the independence referendum in November, makes no mention of any such elections.

He said they were told that the French supreme administrative court will give an opinion next month.

Djaiwe said a vote for independence won’t create a void as there is an assurance by the French government to assist.

He said the FLNKS movement, which includes Palika, wants to have New Caledonia as an independent country in partnership with France.

He also said while the implications of a ‘no’ are spelled out in the Noumea Accord, information should be balanced out to explain the implications of a ‘yes’.

Opinion polls suggest a majority will vote against independence.

Meanwhile, Leaders of the anti-independence Caledonian Republicans have taken their referendum campaign to stay with France to Wallis and Futuna.

Voting in the 4 November independence referendum is restricted to long-term residents.

The party’s leader Sonia Backes said the Wallis and Futuna community is an important part of New Caledonia, where it is the third largest ethnic community.

She has told local television that people in Wallis and Futuna are very proud to belong to the French republic and they know what France brings to territory.

Backes says by going to Wallis she could pass the message to the territory’s leaders that it is important to remain with France.

Last week marked the 57th anniversary of three annexed traditional kingdoms on Wallis and Futuna becoming a French overseas territory, separate from the colony of New Caledonia.

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