8 Dec 2018

Rally in New Caledonia for change to provincial rolls

11:33 am on 8 December 2018

About 200 mainly French settlers have rallied outside the French High Commission in New Caledonia asking to be given voting rights in provincial elections.

Flags outside the French High Commission in New Caledonia.

Flags outside the French High Commission in New Caledonia. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Walter Zweifel

The gathering was organised by two groups emanating from the anti-independence parties and follows last month's referendum in which just over 56 percent of voters rejected independence from France.

The groups are called Never Again without my Voice and One Heart One Vote, which is also running an online petition.

They want the French constitution to be changed in order to give voting rights to more than 41,000 residents now excluded from local elections.

Under the Noumea Acccord, voting rights in provincial elections are limited to those who have been residents since at least 1998.

The measure was put in place in a bid to help shore up the number of indigenous Kanak voters who had become a minority in New Caledonia following decades of migration.

The restrictions are also meant to define who is eligible to become a citizen of New Caledonia should the territory become independent.

The two groups want the restrictions to be eased but pro-independence parties have said they are not interested in revisiting the issue.

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