4 Jun 2020

New Caledonia opens Noumea registration for outer island voters

6:46 am on 4 June 2020

Registration has opened for people from New Caledonia's outer islands wanting to vote in Noumea during this year's independence referendum.

New Caledonia referendum posters

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

The French High Commission opened an office for voters from the Isle of Pines, Belep and the Loyalty Islands to register.

It said it was the easiest way to ensure their vote counted because the terms to vote by proxy were much stricter.

The registration is possible until 17 July although the exact date for the vote is yet to be set by France.

Initially set for 6 September, the French prime minister Edouard Philippe last week proposed to defer the plebiscite until 4 October because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The electoral roll, which has been the subject of prolonged controversy, is made up of indigenous Kanaks and includes only those non-Kanaks who have lived in New Caledonia continuously since 1994.

In the first of three possible referendums in 2018, just under 57 percent voted for the status quo.

Should voters again reject independence this year, another referendum can be called by New Caledonia's Congress within the following two years.

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