20 Feb 2007

French Congress approves voting amendment for New Caledonia

6:45 am on 20 February 2007

The French Congress has adopted a constitutional amendment that restricts voters' rights in the Pacific territory of New Caledonia.

Under the measure, adopted in a joint session of the Senate and the National Assembly, the electoral roll for the 2009 and 2014 local elections will be restricted to those voters who were on the 1998 list and have subsequently lived in the French territory for 10 years.

The change was intended to satisfy demands from Kanak independence supporters under the terms of the 1998 Noumea power-sharing accord that ended a brief period of turmoil in the territory

The amendment was adopted by a vote of 724 to 91 -- well above the three-fifths required to pass the bill.