9 May 2009

New Caledonia elects new assemblies for five-year term

9:16 am on 9 May 2009

Voters in New Caledonia will go to the polls tomorrow to elect assemblies for the territory's three provinces for a five-year term.

The outcome will determine the make-up of the 54-member territorial Congress which will then choose a president.

The government is made up of parties in proportion of their representation in the legislature.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The line is drawn between the parties for and against independence from France. The Kanak rural areas are traditionally held by the pro-independence side which aspires to regain a foothold in the wealthy and dominant southern province. But recent rifts within the anti-independence camp are expected to see the Future Together party lose the support it had in the 2004 election. Under provisions of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, voting rights have been restricted to long time residents, leaving 18,000 French citizens without a chance to cast a ballot ."