8 Oct 2020

French in New Caledonia push for full voting rights

1:01 pm on 8 October 2020
French citizens want full voting rights in New Caledonia

French citizens want full voting rights in New Caledonia Photo: AFP or licensors

An organisation of French citizens without full voting rights in New Caledonia has called for a rally to coincide with a visit to Noumea by the French overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu.

The group, One Heart One Vote, wants an estimated 41,000 residents to be inscribed on all electoral rolls.

They can only vote in municipal elections and French elections, but not in provincial elections and independence referendums which are restricted to indigenous Kanaks and those who arrived and registered in New Caledonia before 1998.

One Heart One Vote called for a rally outside the French High Commission on Saturday next week and requested to be received by Mr Lecornu.

The restrictions were enshrined in a French organic law in 1999 to shore up the representation of the indigenous Kanak population.

The group said this excludes people who in some cases have lived in New Caledonia for 20 years.

Pro-independence politicians representing indigenous Kanaks, who are a minority, have ruled out revisiting the issue.

Two years ago, One Heart One Vote said it would lobby the French Supreme Court, the European Human Rights Court and the United Nations to quash the provisions, describing them as discriminatory.

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