22 Jan 2005

France aims to resolve ambiguity over New Caledonia electorate

8:19 am on 22 January 2005

France is to begin a legal review aimed at settling the thorny question of who is able to vote in New Caledonia.

The declaration was made after a meeting in Paris between the overseas minister, Brigitte Girardin, and political factions in New Caledonia, to review the 1998 Noumea Accord on territorial autonomy.

Politicians in New Caledonia are split on the wording of the Noumea Accord.

The pro-independence FLNKS understands people are only qualified to vote if they have been resident in the territory in the ten years before 1998.

The anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP party, understands that a ten-year residency requirement for voters applies to all elections from 1998 onwards.

The Noumea Accord says a ballot will take place between 2014 and 2018 when the electorate will be able to vote on whether or not New Caledonia should become independent.