Consensus build against independence referendum in New Caledonia

Reports from Paris say there is a growing consensus among New Caledonia leaders not to go ahead with an independence referendum after 2014.
The view was expressed by three members of French National Assembly law commission, who last month visited the territory to look at the institutional changes.
Walter Zweifel reports.
“The findings were released as the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy are in Paris for a scheduled review of the document which charts a phased and irreversible transfer of powers to New Caledonia. Under the terms of the accord, which is now part of the French constitution, the last five-year phase of the accord, beginning after next year’s election, calls for a referendum. However, fears that the troubles of the 1980s could be repeated have led to a new consensus to find a way forward which avoids an outright vote as polls suggest the pro-independence camp would clearly lose. The French government has repeatedly said it is open to any institutional future for New Caledonia if the rival camps can find common ground.”


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