2 May 2007

Kanak senate in New Caledonia backs Royal in French presidential election

10:41 am on 2 May 2007

New Caledonia's Kanak customary senate has called on women to vote for the female candidate in this weekend's French presidential election, Segolene Royal.

In a statement, the senate says women will have a key role in revolutionising the mentality in French society.

Its spokesman, Gabriel Paita, says both women and coloured people have an interest in voting for her because she represents two aspects of the 1789 universal declaration of human rights which have so far been excluded.

Mr Paita says they are the right of women and the right of coloured people.

He says Ms Royal's election would be a good signal for New Caledonia - nine years after the signing of the Noumea Accord which will lead to a vote on possible independence from France within seven to 12 years.

The customary senate comprises 16 members and is consulted in land matters and advises on aspects of Kanak identity.