Caroline Baudry, edited by Solène Leroux 6:24 am, October 25, 2021

The state has set December 12 as the historic independence ballot. This final consultation promises to be highly sensitive. A call to boycott the vote was launched on Tuesday by the historic Kanak struggle movement, the FLNKS. They are asking, in vain, that the state postpone the date of the vote to 2022, because of the Covid-19 epidemic.

An exceptional device in New Caledonia.

2,000 gendarmes, police, soldiers will be sent in reinforcement to supervise the conduct of the third referendum on independence.

This is more than the number of gendarmes deployed on the territory: they are currently 1,400.

In addition to human forces, 160 vehicles, 30 armored vehicles as well as two Puma helicopters and an army Casa plane will be mobilized for the vote.

That is to say twice as many staff as in the first referendum, on November 4, 2018, won by supporters of maintaining France with 56.7% of the vote.

In 2020, the "no" had won again, this time by a narrow majority.

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Impossible vote for the separatists

More than 250 dead since the beginning of September, traditional Kanak funerals upset by the Covid-19 ... Under these conditions, it is impossible to vote on December 12 according to the separatists. "The population is very shocked. People have spent at least two weeks or three weeks to finish their mourning. And then, with us, it takes time", explains Jean Creugnet, spokesperson for FLNKS, the main independence party. "In the meantime, we will not be able to carry out the field campaign. We are missing 5,000 votes. This campaign must be surgical." If it takes place on December 12, "we will certainly challenge the result of the referendum," said this pro-independence leader.

Opposite, the loyalists denounce the instrumentalisation of the health crisis.

"I recall that it was the separatists who demanded this third referendum and that the health situation is improving day by day. The minister was very clear on the fact that this referendum would take place if there was no loss of control over the health situation ", explains Sonia Backès, their leader, at the microphone of our colleagues from RRB.

Loyalists announce relaunching their campaign suspended because of Covid-19.

The High Commissioner of the Republic Patrice Faure, equivalent to the prefect on the spot, is content "to organize it for December 12".