Election Universe

New Caledonia independence bid to be tested in May congressional polls

New Caledonia independence bid to be tested in May congressional polls
April 16 2014, 17:43

In recent years, the government of New Caledonia has been granted more and more autonomy by France as a result of the 1998 Noumea Accord.  Yet despite increasing freedoms, residents of this  southwest Pacific Ocean  territory have never given up their aspirations for full independence.  

In May, voters will be heading to the polls in what many observers are calling a test run for the independence referendum expected to happen later this year.  By law, the Congress, by a 3/5 majority, can call for a plebiscite on the transfer of remaining sovereign powers from France to itself.  Since last year, pro-independence and anti-independence blocs have been actively campaigning.

The unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du Territoire has 54 seats with members belonging to the three Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms.

New Caledonia’s bid for self-determination has impact on global trade in the light of the fact that the fast-growing economy owns 30% of the world’s nickel reserves.

The territory’s population is 256,000which is a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), White European people, Polynesian people,  and South-East Asian people.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia