12 May 2005

New Caledonia's pro-independence parties split on Europe vote

2:01 pm on 12 May 2005

New Caledonia's pro-independence parties have issued various recommendations to their supporters ahead of the referendum later this month on the European constitution.

Voters in all of France's overseas possession are called to the polls to decide a so-called French law project aimed at approving the constitution.

The Palika party has called on its backers to abstain, saying it should be up to the citizens of the European Union member states to vote.

The Caledonian Union says it will leave it to its supporters to decide how they want to vote.

The two parties, who belong to the FLNKS pro-independence movement, say the constitution will not affect the 1998 Noumea accord signed with France which grants greater autonomy and a possible vote on independence in 15 to 20 years.