21 Feb 2018

French Senate approves New Caledonia electoral law

11:13 am on 21 February 2018

The French Senate has approved a change to the electoral law for New Caledonia for this year's independence referendum.

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Photo: AFP

344 senators voted for the change, with only the two National Front senators voting against it.

The new law will allow for the enrolment of an additional 11,000 people following last November's political agreement on the make-up of the restricted roll to be used for the plebiscite.

During the debate, senators said there was a need to prevent a return of tensions between the pro- and anti-independence sides once the referendum was held.

One senator Bruno Retailleau said he was he was certain New Caledonia will stay with France and it was up to the French state to prepare for the day after the vote.

Another senator Gerard Poadja said the new law contributes to a Caledonian identity.

The law change is due to be debated in the National Assembly in mid-March.

The referendum date and the referendum question are yet to be decided, but the vote will have to take place by November.

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