2 Oct 2017

Valls eager to advance New Caledonia process

5:48 am on 2 October 2017
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Former French PM Manuel Valls Photo: SUPPLIED/Pool picture

A former French prime minister says no time may be lost in preparing next year's independence referendum in New Caledonia.

Manuel Valls, who is the only former prime minister in the French National Assembly, said he planned to be highly engaged in the process as a member of a parliamentary mission due in New Caledonia soon.

Mr Valls joined President Emmanuel Macron's movement after quitting the Socialist Party.

He said he was concerned that the referendum is leaving uncertainty over what happens after the vote, suggesting that New Caledonia needs to be shown a path forward.

His comments came just weeks before the last meeting of the signatories to the Noumea Accord meet in Paris under the auspices of the prime minister Edouard Philippe.

The meeting is to help finalise the referendum process, including an agreement on the make-up of the restricted electoral roll.

No date has been set for the plebiscite, but one anti-independence faction proposed October 7th.