Paris said on Wednesday that the French Pacific region of New Caledonia would hold a third referendum on independence in December, after voting twice.
government last month. agreed to the request of New Caledonia The legislature to hold the referendum by the end of the next year, as provided under the terms of a decolonization plan agreed in 1998.
On Wednesday, Sebastian Lecornu, the French minister for overseas territories, said it would take place on 12 December.
“We believe that holding this advisory serves the common good Referendum As soon as possible,” he told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.
The 1998 “Noumea Accord”, which ended a deadly conflict between the mostly pro-independence indigenous Kanak population and descendants of European settlers, required three independence votes by 2022 if requested by at least a third of the local legislature. Permission granted.
In April, a group of 26 pro-independence lawmakers – less than half of the total legislature – sent a joint letter to the French High Commission requesting a third vote.
New Caledonia has been under French control for nearly 170 years, during which time it served as a penal colony for criminals and political prisoners, an Allied military base in World War II, and a source of commodities, notably nickel.
Lecornu said the French government wants the referendum to be followed by a transition period lasting until June 2023.
According to Le Monde newspaper this week, that time will be used to formulate full sovereignty in the event of a “yes” vote.
If independence is denied again, however, the government seeks to create a newly developed status quo for the archipelago during that period, which will be put to another referendum, the newspaper said.
President of France Emmanuel Macron said after 2020 vote he felt “deep sense of gratitude” On the result, but also the “humility” at the closeness of the outcome, which some had predicted.
France, which is more than 16,000 kilometers (10,000 mi) away from the region, subsidizes New Caledonia with about 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion) each year, which contributes to the region’s GDP. equals more than 15% of the product.
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