16 Jul 2018

New Caledonia Labour Party opts out of independence referendum

5:46 am on 16 July 2018

New Caledonia's Labour Party says it won't take part in the November referendum on independence from France.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island. Photo: AFP

The party's leader Louis Kotra Uregei made the announcement after its members agreed at a meeting that the conditions for a sincere vote didn't exist.

The party, which is a minor force in the Congress, has however declined to label its stance a boycott, saying the vote on self-determination on November 4th is one in name only.

Mr Kotra Uregei said as the colonised people, they don't want to be associated with what he calls an electoral farce.

He said the referendum is a French government plan to lead the indigenous Kanak people along a path with no way out.

Mr Kotra Uregei said the non-Kanak majority has never respected the indigenous people.

The Labour Party repeatedly criticised the process used to establish the restricted roll used for the referendum which marks the end of the 1998 Noumea Accord.

Opinion polls suggest that a large majority will vote to stay with France.

In the last independence referendum in 1987, which was boycotted by the pro-independence side, more than 98 percent of those who took part voted in favour of staying with France.

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