10 Mar 2015

Challenges to electoral lists in New Caledonia thrown out

2:36 pm on 10 March 2015

Reports from New Caledonia say the special commissions vetting the electoral rolls are poised to reject most requests for names to be struck off.

The pro-independence camp has been claiming that more than 6,000 people took part in the vote last year illegally and should be struck off the lists.

A new French supreme court ruling says those eligible to vote in New Caledonia's provincial elections must have been enrolled since 1998 or submit proof that they lived in the territory since 1988.

Noumea's daily newspaper says in two towns near the capital, all challenges have been thrown out and the commissions are likely to do the same elsewhere.

The court's interpretation has angered the three anti-independence parties which say it is a betrayal of the spirit of the 2007 French constitutional reform.

The reform restricted voting rights to long-term residents in view of the territory's possible referendum on independence.

A New Caledonian member of the French Senate, Pierre Frogier, has told local television that it is unacceptable to rely on the French court ruling for the vetting of the lists because it is even more restrictive than the demands of the pro-independence camp.

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