31 Jul 2017

New Caledonia opposition to associated state status

5:54 am on 31 July 2017

An anti-independence political bloc in New Caledonia has dismissed suggestions to create a state associated with France.

Looking ahead to next year's independence referendum, a former French justice minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the territory could consider options such as becoming a state in free association with France or for New Caledonia and France to form a federation.

People take part in a demonstration on April 24, 2015 in Noumea, New-Caledonia, called by two right wing UMP affiliated parties to codemn the French Governemnt policy about New-Caledonia forced march towards independance.

2015 rally in Noumea against New Caledonia's possible independence Photo: AFP

But in a statement, the Caledonian Republicans said there was nobody in France who would want to see France enter into a federal system which would have then to apply to all regions.

They also said this would imply some sort of associated state, but just under another name.

They said these options would lead New Caledonia to an irreversible new status in exchange for an unstable and fragile relationship with France.

Mr Urvoas, who is a former head of the law commission of the French National Assembly, warned of the risks of a poorly prepared referendum as it could blow up the territory.

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