30 Mar 2006

New French plan to restrict New Caledonia voters

3:35 pm on 30 March 2006

The French government has been presented with a constitutional law proposal which would restrict the body of eligible voters in New Caledonia in line with the demands of the Kanak leaders.

Press reports in Paris say the plan would restrict voting rights to those who in 1998 have lived in New Caledonia for ten years.

The provision is a key aspect of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy which the anti-independence RPCR and the pro-independence FLNKS movement signed with France.

The voter eligibility clause was questioned by the RPCR which claimed that this went against the rights under the French constitution.

There were claims that the accord was ambiguous but the Kanaks who signed the accord only after the restrictions were put in writing maintained that the agreement was for a restricted body of voters.

This is to ensure that the Kanaks won't become a minority in their own country as a result of migration from France.