The head of the French parliamentary mission to New Caledonia is to quit his post just weeks out from the independence referendum.
Former prime minister Manuel Valls has decided to relinquish all his political offices in France next week so he can stand for the mayoralty of the Spanish city of Barcelona, where he was born.
A year ago, Mr Valls left the Socialist Party to join President Emmanuel Macron's movement and to win a seat in the National Assembly.
He was then picked to lead a cross-party team of the National Assembly to Noumea, triggering dismay on the left.
When his team visited New Caledonia in February, Mr Valls said he was in favour of the territory remaining French.
The vote will be on 4 November, with polls predicting that a majority will vote against independence.