The enlargement of the electorate accepted by the separatists

The discussions are unblocked between the government and the separatists in New Caledonia. On a visit to the French territory of the South Pacific since Thursday, Minister Gérald Darmanin is conducting a new series of bilateral negotiations with the separatists of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and the supporters of maintaining the archipelago under the authority from Paris.

The separatists of New Caledonia have accepted the principle of an enlargement of the electorate for the provincial election of 2024, until then one of the sticking points in the discussions on the future status of the archipelago, we learned Sunday with the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas.

11,000 natives included

Under the Noumea Accord signed in 1998, three self-determination referenda rejected independence. But the last, in December 2021, is contested by the FLNKS. The government has since been trying to relaunch the dialogue between the two camps on the future of the archipelago but has so far failed to obtain the holding of tripartite discussions. Among other blocking points, loyalists and separatists disagree on the composition of the electorate for the provincial election scheduled for next year. The former are in favor of its enlargement, which the latter has always refused so far.

During the last discussions, “the State proposed seven years of residence (in New Caledonia to be registered on the electoral lists) and the integration of the 11,000 native Caledonians for the moment excluded from the vote”, reported the ministry. “The FLNKS answered yes for natives and “minimum ten years” (of residence), subject to technical work to be carried out in the coming weeks,” continued the same source. “This is a huge step forward in the discussion process,” rejoiced those around the minister.

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