27 Jan 2016

UN to observe vetting of New Caledonia roll

10:25 am on 27 January 2016

France has invited United Nations observers to assist in the vetting of New Caledonia's electoral roll, which Kanak leaders have said is rigged.

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Photo: AFP

The territory is on track for an independence referendum by 2018, which is open to long-term residents only.

Kanak leaders insist there are still more than 3,000 people on the roll who are ineligible to vote because they fail to meet the residency requirements.

The issue has been contentious and prompted the French prime minister Manuel Valls to convene New Caledonia's leaders last June to change the make-up of the commissions vetting the rolls.

The High Commissioner in Noumea has told the public broadcaster that 13 UN observers are invited in March to be with the 13 French magistrates checking the roll.

2018 will be the last year of the 20-year Noumea Accord to decolonise the territory.