25 Jun 2018

New Caledonian politicians head to Paris for referendum talks

9:17 am on 25 June 2018

Several New Caledonian politicians are bound for Paris for talks about the referendum on independence from France.

A cross-section of top leaders was due in France by the end of the week but dissent within the so-called G10 prompted some anti-independence representatives to pull out of the group and the visit to Paris.

The pro-independence leader Paul Neaoutyine, representing one faction of the FLNKS movement, wants the French government to clarify the possible implications of a vote for full sovereignty.

New Caledonian pro-independence leader, Paul Neaoutyine

New Caledonian pro-independence leader, Paul Neaoutyine Photo: AFP/Lionel Bonaventure

Opinion polls suggest that his side will lose but Mr Neaoutyine wants France to lay out the institutional process should a majority opt for independence.

He told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes that there mustn't be a void, suggesting it could take a year or more between a yes vote in the referendum and a formal declaration of independence.

In the lead-up to the vote, Mr Neaoutyine suggested that New Caledonia could become an independent country in partnership with France.

The vote will be on November 4th.

The last such referendum was held in 1987 and saw more than 98 percent vote to stay French.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs