22 Apr 2016

Roll acrimony festering in New Caledonia

3:34 pm on 22 April 2016

There is continued acrimony in New Caledonia over the make-up of the electoral rolls which is likely to be a topic during next week's visit to Noumea by the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.

The anti-independence Republicans accuse the rival pro-independence side of reneging on its undertaking given to Mr Valls during their joint summit in Paris two months ago that they all considered the politically charged question of the roll to be settled.

However, fresh legal challenges have this week led to about 50 people being struck off the roll drawn up for provincial elections because they failed to meet the eligibility criteria.

This has angered loyalists, triggering accusations by the Republicans that the French High Commission committed a blunder by releasing information to the committee vetting the voters.

The High Commission says it only acted in conformity with the law.

A separate roll is being finalised for the independence referendum due by 2018, and again it will be restricted to long-term residents.

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