29 Feb 2016

New Caledonia roll to be vetted

3:14 pm on 29 February 2016

Special commissions in New Caledonia will tomorrow begin vetting controversial entries on electoral roll of those eligible to vote in provincial elections.

Noumea, New Caledonia

Noumea, New Caledonia Photo: AFP

The make-up of the roll has been one of the most contentious issues in recent years as the territory is gearing up for an independence referendum by 2018.

Pro-independence politicians have long claimed that thousands of people have been enrolled despite failing to meet the residency requirements introduced with a change to the French constitution.

Magistrates and observers from the United Nations are now tasked with checking the credentials of more than 1,000 voters whose enrolment is being challenged.

The roll is different from the one to be used for the referendum but both are restricted to long-term residents only.

Loyalists concede that if the roll is stacked with ineligible voters, the referendum outcome could be challenged and voided.