17 Apr 2014

Anti-independence side in New Caledonia's north split

2:04 pm on 17 April 2014

Anti-independence politicians in New Caledonia's north have failed to agree on a single list to contest next month's provincial election.

The northern province is a stronghold of the pro-independence camp where the rival side has had difficulty making inroads.

The Front for Unity-Rassemblement, the Union for a Caledonia in France and the Caledonia Together couldn't join forces.

This follows continued disagreements among the parties in Noumea, where they dominate the political scene.

The May poll will determine the make-up of the 54-member Congress, which has a window to organise an independence referendum in line with the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The run-up to the election has been overshadowed by a row over who is allowed to vote because of the residency requirements outlined in the Noumea Accord.

The tribunals have overwhelmingly rejected bids by the pro-independence side to strike off the name of thousands of voters whose eligibility was contested.