Special commissions in New Caledonia have begun vetting electoral rolls amid claims that thousands of people are on them although they are ineligible to vote.
The renewed scrutiny comes just days after France's highest court ruled that those eligible to vote in New Caledonia's provincial elections must have been enrolled since 1998 as stipulated in the Noumea Accord.
The anti-independence parties are upset by the ruling, saying it goes against an undertaking by a former French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who said anyone who was in New Caldedonia in 1998 would be allowed to enrol.
They query whether a court is allowed to overrule what they call a political decision.
The pro-independence side has been insisting that the Noumea Accord, which is the territory's decolonisation roadmap, has to be followed to the letter.
It wants the commissions to purge the names of thousands of people who it says were added illegally.
The restrictions are viewed to be vital as the territory is tasked to organise an independence referendum by 2018.