14 Mar 2018

French PM warns of New Caledonia referendum risk

1:08 pm on 14 March 2018

The French prime minister says New Caledonia's independence referendum is a challenge which is not without risk.

France's newly appointed Prime Minister Edouard Philippe poses prior to taking part in the evening news broadcast of French TV channel TF1.

Edouard Philippe Photo: AFP

Edouard Philippe made the comment in the French National Assembly which is about to adopt a change to the electoral law defining the restricted referendum roll.

Mr Philippe has appealed to everybody to safeguard what has been attained during 30 years of peace.

He said asking voters whether they were for, or against full sovereignty bears the risk of causing divisions.

And he said more than elsewhere this was dangerous.

Therefore, he said, it is urgent to be reminded of what unites New Caledonia and to protect what has been achieved.

Several assembly members have expressed concern over what will happen the day after the vote which is widely expected to be held on 4 November.