15 Dec 2006

New Caledonian reaction to new voting laws

10:13 am on 15 December 2006

The dominant party in New Caledonia, The Future Together, says the French state has kept its word in changing the constitution to restrict voting rights to the territory's long-term residents.

The party's president, Harold Martin, was reacting to a vote in the French assembly which decided that only French citizens who were in New Caledonia before 1998 are allowed to vote in the 2009 provincial elections.

For the amendment to be effective it still needs to b approved by the French senate and a joint session of both houses of parliament.

The main anti-independence UMP-Rassemblement has been campaigning against the bill while the pro-independence FLNKS movement has welcomed the French move to honour the Noumea Accord provisions.

The National Front has denounced the assembly vote, saying it is disheartened that some individuals who don't represent New Caledonia can decide its affairs.