25 Sep 2007

New Caledonian Congress president shuns citizenship protocol

3:26 pm on 25 September 2007

The president of the New Caledonian Congress, Pierre Frogier, has distanced himself from citizenship day commemorations because he objects to the changes in voter eligibility.

Yesterday marked the day in 1853 when France took over the territory and since 2005, September the 24th is observed in Noumea to recognise the emergence of a New Caledonian citizenship as outlined in the 1998 accord on greater autonomy.

Mr Frogier says restricting future voting rights to those who have lived in New Caledonia at least ten years has fundamentally changed the notion of citizenship.

The vice-president, Dewe Gorodey, says Mr Frogier has assumed a heavy political and historic responsibility.

The voter restriction was put in place through an amendment of the French constitution this year as to comply with the Noumea Accord which provides for a referendum on independence before 2018.