23 Apr 2014

17 party lists to contest New Caledonia provincial elections

2:02 pm on 23 April 2014

A total of 17 party lists have been submitted in New Caledonia to contest next month's election of the three provincial assemblies.

Out of the 87 assembly members, 54 will be chosen to sit in the Congress whose mandate covers the last five-year phase of the Noumea Accord that allows for an independence referendum.

The government in turn will be formed in proportion to the parties represented in the Congress.

In the most populous and affluent province, around Noumea, which is a loyalist stronghold, six anti-independence lists have been registered, while the small pro-independence camp has forged a single list.

Observers say the unprecedented rifts within the loyalist camp are likely to allow the pro-independence side to make gains.

In the poorer and more rural northern province and in the Loyalty Islands province, the pro-independence camp is set to retain its overwhelming majority.

As voting is restricted to long-term residents, the eligibility of thousands of voters is being challenged.