9 Feb 2018

Kanak group still wary about New Caledonia referendum terms

3:43 pm on 9 February 2018

A New Caledonian Kanak pro-independence group is still undecided if it will tell its supporters to vote in the independence referendum later this year.

Kanak designs

Kanak designs Photo: RNZI/ Johnny Blades

The group of pro-independence supporters and nationalists, known as RIN, represents factions and unions at the fringe of the establishment, spearheading a campaign to register all Kanaks unconditionally.

A Kanak voter enrolment poster.

A Kanak voter enrolment poster. Photo: Supplied

The group said its participation in the plebiscite will be decided at the end of August.

One of its leaders Sylvain Pabouty has told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes that for the time being, the integrity of the roll is not guaranteed.

The group's stance comes despite an agreement among the signatories to the Noumea Accord on who will be allowed to be on the restricted roll for the referendum.

They agreed to add another 11,000 names to the roll by including 7,000 indigenous Kanaks and 4,000 others born in New Caledonia.

The group however said it wanted the exact number of Kanaks.

While the French state has said 12,000 people have no address and can therefore not be included in any roll, it refuses to release their names, citing privacy concerns.

In 1987, a French-sponsored independence referendum was boycotted by the Kanaks which led to a 98.3 percent vote in favour of staying with France.

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