2 May 2014

National Front wants New Caledonia referendum

1:36 pm on 2 May 2014

The National Front in New Caledonia has called for an independence referendum as soon as possible.

Campaigning for seats in this month's election in the southern province, the party says a vote should go ahead quickly to reassure families and investors.

The Congress to be formed after the provincial polls has a five-year window under the Noumea Accord to organise a self-determination vote.

The idea is opposed by a leading anti-independence party, describing it as a frontal vote because nothing is defined of what is behind the two options.

The Caledonia Together Party of Philippe Gomes says it would like roundtable discussions involving the rival sides and the French state to flesh out what the options entail for a vote.

Mr Gomes says being with France, New Caledonia can protect itself against certain people inside the territory and be safe from what he calls external predators that could recolonise the territory economically.