11 Mar 2013

France's National Front head to visit New Caledonia

6:38 am on 11 March 2013

The leader of France's National Front, Marine Le Pen, is due in New Caledonia this week amid her party's concern for the territory's future.

The party says political leaders in France need to pay attention as 2014 approaches, when New Caledonia enters the final phase of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The National Front says it is opposed to the Accord, which provides for a gradual and irreversible transfer of power and a possible referendum on independence after 2014.

Its Noumea secretary says the party wants a strong loyalist front and is decrying the splits within the pro-French camp, which have deepened in recent years.

Ms Le Pen is due to meet a range of leaders during her six-day stay before she flies to French Polynesia next week.

Since the 2009 election, her party has had no seat in the territorial and provincial asssemblies.