6 Jun 2008

New Caledonian call for early vote to end independence debate

12:48 pm on 6 June 2008

New Caledonia's Rassemblement-UMP Party has called for an early referendum on independence from France.

The party's leader, Pierre Frogier, says the vote should be held from 2014 to do away with the issue as everybody knows that the anti-independence camp will win any such referendum.

Mr Frogier, who is also a member of the French assembly, has told the local Noumea newspaper that his party could initiate such a vote so that talk about independence will be done with.

Under the terms of the 1998 Noumea accord, there is a phased and irreversible transfer of powers from Paris, with a vote on self-determination is to be held between 2014 and 2018.

At least 60 percent of the legislature needs to endorse a proposed date for a vote.

Should voters reject independence, a referendum can be organised twice more.