17 Oct 2018

French PM restates impartiality in New Caledonia vote

11:30 am on 17 October 2018

The French prime minister Edouard Philippe has restated that the French state is impartial over the organisation of next month's independence referendum in New Caledonia.

Edouard Philippe  in New Caledonia.

Edouard Philippe in New Caledonia in 2017. Photo: AFP

Mr Philippe has told the French senate that like his predecessors, he thinks impartiality is the correct stance and he won't be deviating from it.

He made the statement after an anti-independence senator from New Caledonia Pierre Frogier asked him why he was so embarrassed to engage and express his preference.

Mr Frogier said he hopes Mr Philippe will honour the wish of New Caledonia's majority and that the referendum result won't be distorted.

Polls suggest a large majority will vote against independence.

Mr Philippe said after the vote on 4 November, the French government will take steps to ensure the future of New Caledonia is built in good faith.

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