The French Congress has adopted a constitutional amendment that restricts voters' rights in New Caledonia.
The amendment was adopted in a joint session of the Senate and the National Assembly by a vote of 724 to 91 -- well above the three-fifths required to pass the bill.
This means that 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 in line with an undertaking in the 1998 Noumea accord on greater autonomy to satisfy the indigenous Kanak politicians' demands.
However the anti-independence faction which had signed the Noumea accord challenged the restrictions as being unconstitutional.
But in 2003, President Jacques Chirac promised to resolve the impasse before the end of his term this year.