During the referendum in New Caledonia in 2018. -

Mathurin Derel / AP / SIPA

In the event of no to the third referendum on independence which should be held by September 2022, the Minister of Overseas France, Sébastien Lecornu, said he was in favor of a “new status” for New Caledonia, a- he said in a column published in the JDD.

"The status quo is not possible, neither politically, nor legally, nor even economically", assures the minister who warns that the consequences of "dry independence, without preparation", would be "disastrous".

The majority separatists in the government

"If, three times, New Caledonia confirms its wish to remain French, it would then be appropriate to give it a new status in the Republic", said the minister while the two branches of the independence coalition of the FLNKS are in conflict to designate the president of the collegiate government.

These dissensions come at a time when the separatists are in the majority in the government for the first time since the start of the Nouméa Accord (1998) and when New Caledonia is facing an economic and budgetary crisis, partly due to the setbacks of the sector. nickel.

"In January, the State launched a major consultation with civil society" to respond to "the deep aspirations of Caledonians", recalls Sébastien Lecornu for whom "the clock continues to tick and the coming days will be decisive" .

Supporters of France in decline

Independence, "nobody claims it", estimates the minister according to which "the separatists agree to wish a partnership with France.

It would still be necessary to be able to discuss it.

Those who call for a yes vote must explain their vision of the future to those who call for a no vote and, for that, come back to the table of discussions, ”claims the Minister.

The first two referendums, on November 4, 2018 and October 4, 2020, were won by supporters of France, but their score has fallen in two years from 56.7% to 53.3%.

The explosive dossier of the takeover of the metallurgical plant of the Brazilian group Vale is at the origin of the fall of the government on February 2, caused by the resignation en bloc of the five independentist "ministers".

The FLNKS and the Kanak chiefdoms oppose the takeover by a consortium comprising the Swiss commodities trader, Trafigura.


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