25 Feb 2014

New Caledonians use social media to back French HC

2:22 pm on 25 February 2014

Thousands of people have expressed their support for the French high commissioner to New Caledonia in an unprecedented drive on social media.

A new page on facebook in support of Jean-Jacques Brot has attracted thousands of backers since its launch after his weekend decision to back out of an engagement on local television.

He issued a statement, saying he was forced to cancel public engagements for a week, which has fuelled speculation Paris may recall him.

There has been no comment by the overseas territories minister nor by the prime minister's office.

This comes amid a controversy triggered by the president of New Caledonia's Congress, Roch Wamytan, who last week called for more than 6,700 names to be struck off the electoral rolls for the May provincial elections.

Anti-independence politicians want the Congress to meet in urgency to discuss the issue amid warnings that the demand could derail the election schedule.

Magistrates from France are due in Noumea on Thursday to vet the rolls.