10 Apr 2015

New Caledonians oppose electoral law

4:42 am on 10 April 2015

There has been a negative reaction in New Caledonia to the French government approving an electoral law as part of preparations for an independence referendum by 2018.

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Photo: AFP

The law, which is now to go to the National Assembly and the Senate, provides for an electoral roll which automatically includes only indigenous Kanaks and those people registered in 1998.

Sonia Backes of the anti-independence Union for Caledonia within France says the government's proposed law is a denial of democracy as thousands of people born in the territory will have to re-enroll.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has however rejected the loyalists' criticism, saying the eligibility of prospective voters has been determined by France's highest court.

But Ms Backes has told local radio the Socialist government is hiding behind legal arguments and is favouring the pro-independence side.

She says if Paris disregards the view of the majority, people should take to the streets.

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