30 Aug 2017

FLNKS to study region for New Caledonia plans

7:57 pm on 30 August 2017

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement says it wants to look at several countries in the region as it prepares for possible independence after next year's referendum.

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Photo: AFP

It said it wanted to study Timor-Leste which took three years after gaining independence to get its own constitution.

At a news conference, FLNKS delegates raised the issue of defence, saying Solomon Islands was an example worth looking at because it had no army but relied on regional security arrangements.

The Fiji constitution was evoked as a recent example of a document drawn up for a multi-cultural society.

The FLNKS said it planned to have a comprehensive model of New Caledonia to present to the voters.

Broad consultations have been held over the past month and once feedback has been received from the movement's components, it plans to finalise its document at the Congress at the end of the year.

The movement also said it wanted to offer outer island voters a chance to cast their ballots in Noumea.

With preparations are underway for next year's independence referendum, a meeting is due in Paris in October to finalise the framework for the vote.

The FLNKS said it would put to the Paris meeting that people from the mainly Kanak islands should be allowed to vote in Noumea, which is the territory's population and employment hub.

It suggested that the communes on Mare, Lifou, Ouvea, Isle of Pines and Belep be allowed to set up polling stations in the city.

The FLNKS has also called for an extention to the registration period from the end of December to September next year to ensure a maximum number of voters take part in the plebiscite.