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In New Caledonia, separatists demand a third referendum – France

The FLNKS separatists on Thursday asked the State to organize the third and last referendum on self-determination of New Caledonia provided for by the Noumea agreement (1998), which organizes the progressive decolonization of the “Caillou”. The Political Bureau (BP) of the independence coalition adopted this Thursday “a unitary approach” consisting in sending the High Commissioner of the Republic of a single letter, signed by the two FLNKS groups in Congress, the UNI and the ‘UC (Caledonian Union), said Victor Tutugoro, member of the BP. These, joined by an elected official from a minority separatist party, represent 26 out of 54 elected officials.

Since April 4, six months after the previous election of October 4, 2020, a minimum of one third of elected Congressmen can request the holding of the third and last referendum included in the Nouméa agreement. While differences opposed the UNI and the UC on the date of the third referendum, a consensus was also found for it to take place at the end of the period “in September 2022”, it was also indicated. source.

Fearing a victory for Marine Le Pen in the 2022 presidential election, UNI recommended organizing the ballot from 2021, but the political and health contexts called this option into question.

The State has 18 months to organize the consultation, which will take place after that of November 4, 2018 won with 56.7% by the partisans of maintaining in France and that of October 4, 2020, which they also won but with a narrower score of 53.3%.

Working session in May in Paris

The Noumea agreement provides for the same question as in the two previous elections: “Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?” », Which arouses reluctance on the loyalist side.

“We do not want a third consultation which divides, but a solution of the future for the Caledonians”, declared on the television Caledonia Virginie Ruffenach, head of the group Avenir en Confiance (AEC) in the Congress. The elected representative also wanted this referendum “imposed” by the separatists “to take place as quickly as possible”.

Prime Minister Jean Castex invited Caledonian leaders to Paris from May 25 to June 3 “for a discussion and work session” to prepare for the post Noumea Accord.

The political situation in New Caledonia remains uncertain. Since February 17, members of the collegiate government of New Caledonia have tried unsuccessfully to elect a president due to dissensions between separatists, who have a majority in the executive for the first time since the start of the agreement. from Noumea.

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