1 Mar 2014

Gomes heartened by Paris stance on New Caledonia rolls

10:31 am on 1 March 2014

New Caledonia's two members of the French National Assembly are heartened by the comments of the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, about the vetting of the territory's electoral rolls for the May provincial elections.

The two, who represent an anti-independence party, met him in Paris amid sharp disagreements in Noumea over how the rolls are to be interpreted.

Philippe Gomes and Sonia Lagarde have emerged from the talks in agreement with Mr Ayrault who wants the rolls to be checked by the relevant committee assisted by magistrates sent from Paris this week.

Mr Gomes says his party is against the discrimination by the pro-independence FLNKS movement which insists that more than 6,700 names be struck off.

He says he is also against the manipulation of the anti-independence politician, Pierre Frogier, who wants the May election to be deferred and the constitution changed.

The constitution provides for residency requirements aimed at ensuring the indigenous Kanak voters won't be outnumbered by waves of migrants.

The Congress to be formed after the May poll will have a four-year window to organise an independence referendum.