19 Oct 2006

New Caledonia voter eligibility bill in French parliament in December

5:20 pm on 19 October 2006

The French overseas territories minister says a constitutional amendment will be tabled in the French parliament on the eligibility of voters in New Caledonia.

The 1998 Noumea accord imposes residency requirements for those taking part in New Caledonian elections and plebiscites.

The anti-independence parties have challenged the accord's provision and a member of the ruling French UMP party has said there are better things to do than change such a type of text.

But the minister, Francois Baroin, has told French radio that a bill will be tabled on December the 12th.

"I consider it's not only about the application of the Noumea accord but it is also important for the conditions for prosperity and balance within the territory with the current issue of the two major projects in the nickel industry."

Francois Baroin