10 Aug 2018

New Caledonia's FLNKS movement outlines independence plan

5:31 am on 10 August 2018

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement has outlined its plan of how it would organise the country should it win independence from France in the November referendum.

The FLNKS flag

Photo: RNZI/ Johnny Blades

The vote will determine whether New Caledonia will assume full sovereignty and take control over police, defence, the judiciary, international relations and its currency.

The FLNKS proposes to rename the country Kanaky New Caledonia and use the FLNKS flag as the national flag.

It suggests creating a multi-cultural and secular republic along the lines of its decolonisation bid submitted to the United Nations in 1986.

The plan is for a constitution to be drawn up by an assembly of all relevant forces and to be adopted by the people.

The FLNKS wants to dissolve the current Congress and replace it with a national assembly which includes both members voted into provincial assemblies and representatives from customary councils.

The provinces would elect the country's president while the national assembly would elect the government which would be proposed by the president.

For internal security, a unitary police force would be created, combining the powers now held by the national and municipal police as well as the gendarmes.

A three-tier court system would be set up, including a Supreme Court which would assume the functions now held by France's three top courts.

Kanaky New Caledonia would seek UN membership, set up its own armed forces and seek defence cooperation with Pacific Island countries and France to protect its exclusive economic zone.

The plan leaves open whether to change the currency, pointing out political sovereignty is not equivalent to monetary sovereignty with France's use of the euro as evidence.

The FLNKS says the new country can maintain the current standard of living, using a number of levers of finance.

In its analysis, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper, said on this key point of its project, the FLNKS will be challenged in the weeks to come to clarify how this can be achieved.

Citizenship would be bestowed to those now on the restricted roll used for the independence vote, leaving it open as to how other residents would qualify.

Land ownership would be constitutionally guaranteed for four types of land, ranging from customary to private.

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

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs