7 Oct 2020

New French mission mooted for New Caledonia

5:03 pm on 7 October 2020

Suggestions are being made in Paris to devise a new accord for New Caledonia to avert a third referendum on independence from France.

The Noumea Accord provides for a third and final referendum in two years after last week's rejection of full sovereignty.

According to Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, a former minister has proposed a mission be planned headed by a former prime minister, either Manuel Valls or Edouard Philippe.

Ballot box used for New Caledonia's independence referendum

Ballot box used for New Caledonia's independence referendum Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

The news comes just days after the French president Emmanuel Macron called on national political forces to draw up their vision of the future of New Caledonia.

On Saturday, the overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu is due in Noumea for talks on the referendum's aftermath.

Mr Valls is quoted as saying there couldn't be a third referendum without a clearer definition of the consequences of such a vote.

The pro-indepedence camp said it would follow the Noumea Accord and opt for a third referendum.

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader against third referendum

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru said there is no need for New Caledonia to hold a third referendum on independence because the position of the Kanak people is clear.

Speaking to Tahiti-infos, Mr Temaru said 95 percent of Kanaks wanted their right to sovereignty recognised, which is France's responsibility.

He said the Kanaks have been deprived of that right which is what France must recognise.

Mr Temaru suggested that New Caledonia write a constitution which grants voting rights to long-term residents.

He said then it could be possible that the current president Thierry Santa would still be elected.

Mr Temaru cited the case of Vanuatu which once elected a Tahitian as its prime minister.

Oscar Temaru

Oscar Temaru Photo: supplied