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New Caledonia: the separatists accept an enlargement of the electorate


Highlights: Conflict over the size of the electorate in New Caledonia has been a sticking point in talks with the French government. The French government has been trying to reach an agreement with the separatist group FLNKS since last November. The two sides have agreed on a seven-year limit for the number of people to be eligible to vote in the next provincial election in 2024. The issue of who will be eligible for the vote is still to be decided, says the French Ministry of the Interior.

The Ministry of the Interior assures that an agreement is about to be reached with the separatists of New Caledonia on the composition of the future electorate for the provincial election.

The separatists of New Caledonia have accepted the principle of an enlargement of the electorate for the provincial election of 2024, until then one of the sticking points in the discussions on the future status of the archipelago, we learned Sunday from the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas.

Visiting the French territory of the South Pacific since Thursday, Minister Gérald Darmanin is leading a new round of bilateral negotiations with the separatists of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and supporters of maintaining the archipelago under the authority of Paris.

Under the Nouméa Accord signed in 1998, three referendums on self-determination rejected independence. But the last one, in December 2021, is contested by the FLNKS.

Read alsoEric Descheemaeker: "New Caledonia: one year after the third referendum, where are we going?"

The government has since tried to revive dialogue between the two camps on the future of the archipelago but has so far failed to obtain the holding of tripartite discussions. Among other sticking points, loyalists and separatists disagree on the composition of the electorate for the provincial election scheduled for next year. The former are in favour of its enlargement, which the latter has always refused so far.

During the latest discussions, "the State proposed seven years of residence (in New Caledonia to be registered on the electoral lists, editor's note) and the integration of the 11,000 native Caledonians for the moment excluded from the vote," reported the ministry. "The FLNKS answered yes for natives and 'ten years minimum' (of residence), subject to technical work to be carried out in the coming weeks," continued the same source. "This is a huge step forward in the discussion process," said the minister's entourage.

The pro-independence camp did not immediately confirm or comment on this information. During his visit - the third since last November - which ends this Sunday, Darmanin presented to both sides an assessment of the Nouméa Accord and an "audit of decolonization" which was the subject of strong reservations on the part of FLNKS.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-06-04

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