1 Feb 2005

Rassemblement-UMP party in New Caledonia to launch a petition over eligibility of voters

4:07 pm on 1 February 2005

The anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP party in New Caledonia is appealing to the public to support its stance over who can vote.

This follows an agreement reached in Paris, and signed by political factions from New Caledonia, that the French parliament will hold a legal review aimed at settling the question over who is eligible.

The pro-independence FLNKS interprets the Noumea Accord as saying that people are qualified to vote only if they've been resident in the territory in the ten years prior to 1998.

Our correspondent, Tuo Chinula, says the anti-independence parties are opposed to this because it will exclude too many French citizens who have settled in New Caledonia.

"In particular, the Rassemblement party - they've announced that they're going to circulate a petition to get support to go against any decision to exclude people from voting."

Tuo Chinula says the review is expected to be launched mid-year and a result would not be known until the end of this year or the beginning of next year.