22 Sep 2014

New Caledonia voter registration consensus building

5:47 am on 22 September 2014

Reports from New Caledonia say a consensus appears to be building over who will be allowed to vote in the independence referendum due to be held by 2018.

The territory's public broadcaster says discussions have been held at the French High Commission in Noumea as comprehensive talks on the territory's future will be held in Paris in two weeks under the auspices of the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.

It says agreement appears near to automatically register voters who took part in the 1998 referendum on the Noumea Accord, which is the French-backed 20-year decolonisation roadmap.

However, the anti-independence Front For Unity of the territory's president, Cynthia Ligeard, wants to have a broader electorate.

The pro-independence Caledonian Union is to meet in a week and expected to decide whether it will join the Paris talks after warning of a boycott over the voter eligibility issue.