27 Oct 2009

New Caledonia's Frogier advocates lasting autonomy

1:03 pm on 27 October 2009

The leader of New Caledonia's Rassemblement-UMP Party, Pierre Frogier, says the territory has neither the wish nor the capacity to assume all key powers now held by France.

The territory is being decolonised with a gradual and irreversible transfer of competencies from Paris to New Caledonia, leading to a self-determination referendum between 2014 and 2018.

Mr Frogier has widened the debate by suggesting that the territory settle for enlarged autonomy while maintaining formal ties with France which has been a key source of economic assistance.

While other political leaders have proposed putting off the vote, Mr Frogier has been keen to get a binding vote as soon as possible after 2014.