3 Mar 2014

French magistrates to vet New Caledonia rolls

7:47 am on 3 March 2014

A dozen magistrates from France's highest court are today due to begin checking New Caledonia's rolls for the May provincial election.

The roll, which is restricted to long-term residents, is being interpreted in different ways by rival parties.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"A demand by the pro-independence FLNKS movement to strike off 6,700 names has triggered a political firestorm. The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has assured all sides that the rolls will be vetted to reflect the intention of those who signed the Noumea Accord - the territory's decolonisation roadmap. But the anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP remains alarmed and wants urgent talks, a change to the constitution and the election delayed. The poll is vital as the next Congress will have a four-year window to organise an independence referendum."