2 Feb 2006

FLNKS wants France to detail New Caledonian voter eligibility

2:45 pm on 2 February 2006

The signatories of the 1998 Noumea accord on New Caledonian autonomy will meet in Paris today to discuss the eligibility of voters in future elections.

The news agency, AFP, reports that the pro-independence FLNKS movement wants a timetable for the constitutional change needed to restrict the voting rights of French citizens moving to the territory.

The FLNKS had only signed the accord after the anti-independence party and the French state agreed to a minimum residency period.

But the restriction has been challenged as the two sides fail to agree on what the wording of the Noumea accord means.

The FLNKS understands that to vote, residents need to have lived in the territory for ten years before 1998.

But opponents say a ten-year residency requirement would only apply from the date of arrival.

Anti-independence politicians plan to propose a new law which would require voters to live in New Caledonia for three years.

When President Jacques Chirac visited New Caledonia three years ago, he vowed to resolve the question by the time his term ends next year.