Covid-19: towards a postponement of the referendum on the independence of New Caledonia
Caledonians vote in Noumea during the first referendum on the independence of New Caledonia, November 4, 2018. Theo Rouby / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
In a press release published on Saturday, Edouard Philippe proposed to postpone to October 4 the referendum on the independence of New Caledonia initially scheduled for September 6, due to the logistical difficulties linked to the coronavirus crisis.
" In order to guarantee the irreproachable nature of the organization of the referendum ", the Prime Minister " proposes that the date of the referendum " on the accession to full sovereignty of New Caledonia, " initially stopped on September 6, 2020, be set for October 4, 2020 ”, explains the Matignon press release. Because even if " the operations for the preparation of the referendum were continued " during the health crisis, " a risk remains on the framing of the voting procedures ," explains Matignon.
" Our capacity to collect 250 applications for national and international observers, and to forward them to New Caledonia within deadlines compatible with the three weeks of quarantine required to date " for each arriving in New Caledonia " is not guaranteed Added the press release. New Caledonia, which has drastically reduced its international flights and put in place a strict quarantine, has only recorded 18 cases of Covid-19.
The text sent to the presidents of the government and of the congress of the archipelago
The Prime Minister transmitted a draft decree with this new date to the presidents of the government and of the congress of New Caledonia for advisory opinion within fifteen days. The text should be presented to the Council of Ministers in the second half of June, the State fixing the date of the referendum.
In letters to the president of the government, the loyalist Thierry Santa (Avenir in confidence, close to the Republicans), and to the president of the Congress, the independent Kanak Rock Wamytan (UC-FLNKS), the Prime Minister underlines that this is "to ensure the irreproachable nature of the organization of the referendum, so that its result is incontestable and uncontested ".
After the first referendum, which was held on November 4, 2018 and saw the victory of the “no” to independence (56.7%), the date for a second referendum had been set by the Prime Minister, less two years after the first, as provided for in the Noumea agreement which organizes the gradual decolonization of the archipelago.
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- New Caledonia
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