9 Mar 2015

Loyalists irked by New Caledonia eligibility

9:10 pm on 9 March 2015

New Caledonia's three anti-independence parties are incensed at a French court ruling which says those eligible to vote in New Caledonia's provincial elections must have been enrolled since 1998.

The three parties say the decision is a betrayal of the spirit of the 2007 French constitutional reform which restricted voting rights in view of the territory's possible referendum on independence.

The three parties issued a joint statement on the ruling amid political disagreements among them, which has left the territory without a president for now almost three months.

This comes as magistrates from France are back in the territory to vet the electoral lists in a long-running controversy, with the pro-independence camp claiming more than 6,000 people took part in the vote last year illegally.

The three loyalist parties say they will remain active and will seek the right time for a people's response to the ruling.

The president of the territorial Congress, Gael Yanno, has written to the French President, urging him to act and not to be a mere spectator in view of the court ruling.

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Photo: AFP