6 Nov 2018

French PM ponders New Caledonia referendum outcome

5:37 am on 6 November 2018

The French prime minister Edouard Philippe has begun talks in Noumea with New Caledonian leaders after yesterday's referendum rejected independence from France.

French PM Edouard Philippe arrives at French High Commission in Noumea, accompanied by the overseas minister Brigitte Girardin and the High Commissioner to New Caledonia Thierry Lataste.

French PM Edouard Philippe arrives at French High Commission in Noumea, accompanied by the overseas minister Annick Girardin and the High Commissioner to New Caledonia Thierry Lataste. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

Mr Philippe arrived from Vietnam this morning - an hour after the 56 percent no-vote was officially confirmed.

Edouard Phillipe is faced with a referendum result that defied predictions of a landslide for the anti-independence movement.

Taking into account the victory of the anti-independence camp, he has to acknowledge the surge in support for the pro-independence Kanaks.

They insist on the constitutionally guaranteed additional referendums by 2022, in the hope of completing New Caledonia's decolonisation.

Mr Philippe will fly to Kone this afternoon to meet Kanak leaders before wrapping up his one-day stay.

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