France releases New Caledonia referendum roll

The special electoral roll for New Caledonia’s next referendum on independence from France has been released, with voters given 10 days to check it.

Radio New Zealand reports voting is restricted to indigenous Kanaks and people who have lived in New Caledonia continuously since 1994.

The French High Commission said the roll could be checked online or at town halls and any challenge had to be filed before 16 June for a tribunal to examine it.

The roll has for years been controversial amid claims that ineligible voters were listed while eligible voters were left off.

The date for the plebiscite is yet to be finalised after the Covid-19 pandemic prompted deferring it from 6 September.

The French prime minister Edouard Philippe proposed holding it on 4 October but the pro-independence camp would like to hold it another three weeks later.

Voters will again be asked whether they want New Caledonia to assume full sovereignty and become independent.

In the first of three possible referendums in 2018, just under 57 percent voted for the status quo.

Should voters again reject independence this year, another referendum can be called by New Caledonia’s Congress within the following two years.


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