26 Feb 2014

Paris backs its New Caledonia HC amid roll dispute

7:17 pm on 26 February 2014

The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has quashed rumours that Paris is about to recall its high commissioner in New Caledonia amid local acrimony over the electoral lists for the May provincial elections.

Jean-Jacques Brot announced on Sunday he was forced to cancel public engagements for a week, fuelling speculation his term was being cut short, which in turn triggered an unprecedented response on social media in his support.

However, Mr Ayrault says Mr Brot has his full confidence.

He also says Mr Brot will work to revise the rolls in line with the intentions set out in the Noumea Accord, which restricts voting rights to those who were on the roll by 1998 as well as their children.

There has been tension within the political class after the president of the territorial Congress, Roch Wamytan of the pro-independence FLNKS movement , called for more than 6,700 names to be struck off the roll.

In response, the anti-independence camp suggested 4,000 Kanaks were unduly registered, calling into question the viability of the election being held as planned.

12 magistrates are due from France tomorrow to help vet the rolls.