23 Dec 2008

New Caledonia's anti-independence party launches its election campaign

8:51 am on 23 December 2008

New Caledonia's anti-independence UMP/Rassemblement Party has launched its election campaign ahead of next May's vote, with a call for a referendum on full self-determination to be held soon after 2014.

The Noumea Accord, which specifies a phased and irreversible transfer of power from Paris to New Caledonia, calls for a self-determination vote between 2014 and 2018.

In order to eliminate once and for all the possibility of New Caledonia's independence from France, the party leadership says the referendum should be organised as soon as possible under the conditions of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

The party leader, Pierre Frogier, says this ties in with the commitments made by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to uphold the accord while wishing to see New Caledonia remain within France.

The UMP/Rassemblement lost its dominance within the anti-independence campaign in the last provincial election held in 2004.