Sunday , May 28 2023

What will be the referendum in New Caledonia?


POLITICS – The referendum on self-determination in French territory, the case is not general. Since the 1998 Noumea agreement has been programmed to extend the Matignon agreements signed ten years earlier, this historic meeting of New Caledonia on Sunday, 4 November 2018, represents the culmination of the decolonization process. Thirty years ago, at the dawn of the new beginning of the island, he returned to France in 1853.

"Do you want New Caledonia to become full of sovereignty and independence?" Whichever voter in response to a strongly discussed question between the relevant political actors, the French state pledged to respect their decisions and behave in the same way as New Caledonia. chosen. While the government pledged not to participate in the referendum campaign, the United Nations participated in this consultation with the flagship of the Archipelago Group in order to ensure the transparency and fairness of the process.

Despite the fact that public opinion polls have been widely debated, public services are prepared for both issues. The assurance of "yes" or "no" wins, the days following Sunday's referendum are crucial to the stability and development of New Caledonia.


In theory, when dominated, New Caledonia becomes automatically sovereign, the first Independence of the first Franco-British Condominium New Hebrides (1977) and Vanuatu (1980). As scientists, Ferdinand Melin-Soucramanien and Havel Léa point out in a published paper A HuffPost, On the Paris side "the constitutional review, the national referendum and the intervention of the French parliament are legally indispensable to fully benefit from the positive outcome of the consultation".

The legislator, however, can act by introducing transitional provisions aimed at joining the independence and creating new institutions. On Matignon's side, it is estimated that a law will be needed to record New Caledonia's membership in France and to determine under what conditions some Kalédions may retain their French citizenship.

Whatever happens, this will not happen overnight. The Prime Minister's services mention the decision taken as a result of Sunday's consultation that "a new organization of authorities emerging as a result of joining the independence would not be effective after the referendum". Obviously, "France does not come back suddenly" and continue to provide its sovereign functions for the necessary time (security, public order, currency, justice). This is the symbolic issue of Edouard Philippe's coming to New Caledonia on Monday, where he meets the Kalédónian political figures, regardless of the results of the referendum.

While elected members of Caledonia have to base their new state and adopt their constitution, France will, in consultation with the new Kalédónia authorities, make the transfer of autonomy that is still autonomy: justice, defense, currency, law enforcement, criminal law, the conditions of entry and residence of foreigners, security, maritime and aviation security.

Once these transfers have been planned, the authorities of the new state should "make a one-sided declaration of independence on the international stage" with the aim of establishing diplomatic relations with other states that are now transferring their responsibilities to France and possibly integrating the United Nations. France will then abolish the financial support of New Caledonia.

But there is nothing to rule out that New Caledonia's independent seals serve as privileged partners with France, whether temporary or permanent. This course is promoted by some independent people to relativize the anxiety scenario of the Paris break.


In case there is no win, the script will appear a priori better. New Caledonia will continue to be a French collectivist with a high degree of autonomy, retaining its citizenship, French citizenship and European citizenship. France will continue to pursue sovereign functions and, in particular, the international relations of the Pacific Ocean Group. Important clarification: outside the referendum does not call into question the powers already delegated by the German authorities, which are "irreversible" by the Noumea Agreement.

The debate on the independence of New Caledonia is not yet closed. At the end of the 2019 provincial elections, if one third of congressional members so request, another referendum will be held within the same number within 18 months. In the event of a new victory for independence without independence, a third referendum can be organized under the same conditions, and the end of the discussion will be returned to 2022.

Problem: The Noumea Agreement only applies for twenty years, according to Ferdinand Melin-Soucramanien and Léard Havard, "the legal, political, economic and social stability of New Caledonia" is raised.

In addition to legal concerns over the long process scenario, the question of the status of the archipelago will inevitably arise after each referendum. The framework of the great autonomy imposed by the Noumea Agreement, which is inherited and incinerated in constitutional marble? Can a federal structure be formed, with the risk of awakening other autonomous appetites, especially in Corsica? At this point, everything is open, the Noumea agreement, which states that "political partners will meet to look at the situation so created" when the day comes.

See also: A HuffPost:

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