Pacific / New Caledonia

Call in New Caledonia for new anti-independence front

10:54 am on 13 December 2019

The largest bloc in New Caledonia's Congress has called for a new anti-independence front to contest next year's referendum on independence from France.

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

The 'Future with Confidence', which is made up of three parties, has held a meeting to push for the creation of a so-called loyalist front ahead of next September's second referendum.

This new alliance includes the newly-formed Generation NC, which was formed amid the rivalry within the anti-independence camp that followed the last provincial election.

In the first referendum last year, just under 57 percent voted for the status quo, defying all polls which predicted at least 70 percent rejection of independence.

To remain French, the group has called for a united approach to the referendum but excludes standing as a single force in the municipal elections in March.

The once dominant anti-independence party, Caledonia Together, is not joining the new informal grouping.

It disagrees over the vision of New Caledonia's institutional future after the Future with Confidence leader and president of the Southern Province Sonia Backes suggested a strengthening of the provinces, which some view as a prelude to partition.

Another anti-independence politician and New Caledonia's member of the French Senate, Pierre Frogier, proposed doing away with the New Caledonian government and allowing the three provinces to deal with Paris directly.

He argued that there are deep divisions and neither side will accept the outcome of the referendums provided under the Noumea Accord.