The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has proposed to a New Caledonian leaders' meeting in Paris to hold next year's territorial elections on May the 4th.
Out of the three provincial assemblies to be elected, a new 54-member Congress will be formed, which will be tasked to implement the last five-year term of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.
The territorial election will be held just weeks after the French municipal election.
Mr Ayrault says there is reason to be satisfied with what has been achieved under the Accord, but says important decisions are yet to be made.
There is an apparent consensus emerging to try to avert an outright independence referendum and instead create a new arrangement to formalise ties with France.