31 Jul 2017

Roll row lingers in New Caledonia

3:21 pm on 31 July 2017

A New Caledonian group says it will continue its campaign for the automatic registration of all indigenous Kanaks on the roll to be used for next year's independence referendum.

Push is maintained for Kanaks to get automatic enrollment for independence vot

Push is maintained for Kanaks to get automatic enrollment for independence vote Photo: AFP

Earlier this month, an estimated 3000 people marched in Noumea following a call by the group of pro-independence supporters and nationalists.

The group also insists that there are huge discrepancies in the number of Kanak voters between the general roll and the referendum roll, suggesting that the French authorities fail to keep proper records.

Kanaks claim they should be automatically inscribed on the roll but the electoral law stipulates that voters need to register to cast a ballot.

The issue has been contentious for years and could imperil the credibility of the planned referendum as there is no agreement on how to form the rolls.

An anti-independence party has spoken out against the march, saying it engaged in agitation and was based on discriminating against non-Kanaks.

The party said this also goes against its own campaign to automatically enrol all New Caledonian-born people irrespective of ethnicity.

The terms of the Noumea Accord restrict voting to those enrolled since 1998 and their descendants once the reach voting age.

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