29 Apr 2004

New Caledonia's provincial electors number 120,000

12:31 pm on 29 April 2004

The French high commission in New Caledonia says just under 120,000 voters are eligible to take part in the next month's provincial elections, about two thirds of them in the southern province alone.

In line with provisions of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, only those are allowed to vote who took part in the 1998 referendum on the accord and those who on election day will have lived in New Caledonia for at least ten years.

This excludes just over ten percent of adults from voting.

The pro-independence FLNKS movement had wanted a restricted electorate for fear of being outnumbered by migrants from France and elsewhere.

The matter is subject to a challenge in the French constitutional court and President Jacques Chirac said during a visit to the territory last year that the issue would be resolved by the end of his term in 2007.