30 Mar 2015

Discord over New Caledonia rolls persists

11:17 am on 30 March 2015

The three anti-independence parties in New Caledonia are strongly opposed to a French law proposal aimed at defining the electoral rolls for those allowed to vote in an independence referendum due by 2018.

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Photo: AFP

The three parties, which have a majority in Congress, have voted against the proposal to automatically include on the roll only indigenous Kanaks.

The loyalist camp says this is discriminatory and will force tens of thousands of people to seek enrolment although they have been born in the territory.

The eligibility question has divided the the community even further, with the anti-independence camp accusing the French state of no longer being impartial.

The pro-independence side, however, says the process to enrol voters has not been compliant with the 1998 Noumea Accord, which is the territory's decolonisation roadmap, and that thousands of people voted last year illegally.

It has suggested that the United Nations may need to get involved to resolve the issue.

The proposed law is scheduled to be discussed by the French government next week.

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