Monday 17 Dec 2018 | 11:21 | SYDNEY
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New Caledonia

New Caledonia to remain part of France

The victory is clear, but certainly not as wide as the loyalists had hoped for. On Sunday, the people of New Caledonia voted for their territory to stay part of France. To the question: “Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?”, 56.4% (78,361 votes) voted “

New Caledonia’s independence referendum explained

On Sunday, 4 November, 174,154 voters will vote on the future of New Caledonia, a territory only a couple of hours flight east of Australia. They will be called to the polls to say “yes” or “no” to independence. How and why has this moment arrived, who can vote, and what will happen

New Caledonia: the independence vote looms

One month out from New Caledonia’s 4 November independence referendum, the French State has announced a number of steps it has taken to ensure a credible and peaceful process. The campaign is generally proceeding smoothly, although tensions around a boycott call and an ongoing mining blockade 

New Caledonia’s referendum: the delicate dance

In only two months from now, New Caledonia will face an independence referendum. This will bring to an end the Matignon and Noumea Accords, which delivered 30 years of peace after a bloody civil war. France is overseeing preparations. Australia’s position continues to be simple support for

New Caledonia: boycotts and blockade

Preparations are under way for New Caledonia’s historic independence referendum just two months away. Ongoing constructive dialogue and peaceful campaigning have been marred by division and boycotts, and a worrying three-week long blockade over nickel mining by some young Kanaks. Broad media

New Caledonia: decolonisation in conversation

Speaking of “decolonisation” conjures memories of the 1950s and the wave of new nations that emerged, particularly in Africa, as European colonialism gave way to calls for emancipation in the post-1945 new world order. In contrast to the heady unrest which preceded the first referendum in 1987

New Caledonia: dangerous games

Barely a month since the carefully choreographed visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to New Caledonia, positions have hardened as parties prepare for the 4 November 2018 independence referendum. Small hard-line pro-French parties with their eyes on the May 2019 local elections are

French choreography in the Pacific

French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Australia was a frank success, although some observers were puzzled after he raised the idea of a “Paris–New Delhi–Canberra” diamond within an Indo-Pacific axis.  Yet this proposal is clarified by French national objectives

Sensitivities flare in New Caledonia

Sensitivities have heightened as New Caledonia prepares in earnest for an independence referendum by November. Despite pro-France pressure, Emmanuel Macron’s government has now stated categorically that it won’t take sides. The mainstream independence group has sent a warning of its own.

Worry ahead of New Caledonia’s independence vote

Last month, a year before the deadline for the referendum on independence from France, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe visited the semi-autonomous territory of New Caledonia. Philippe is anxious about potential unrest. In October, a special delegation of New Caledonians expressed

New Caledonia: the future takes shape

A visit to New Caledonia last week highlighted the momentous discussions that are taking place to determine the future of Australia's closest eastern neighbour.  Amid profound differences, two opposing leaders have released ambit claims. On 13 November, independence Palika party leader

Pacific island links: Sogavare out, COP23, Manus and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been ousted after a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. He has said the mass resignations last week that preceded the vote were due to the reintroduction of an anti-

New Caledonia: Slow progress on defining its future

The latest meeting of those charged with steering New Caledonia into its next stage of governance went some small way to resolving sensitive political issues but also demonstrated just how deep divisions run regarding the possibility of independence. The Committee of Signatories that met in

New Caledonia census raises thorny political questions

The 2014 census results for New Caledonia have been published, showing changes in the ethnic composition of a growing population. These changes are central to the political differences which led to civil war in the 1980s, and which continue now as New Caledonia considers its status after the 1998

Trouble in New Caledonia over links with China

Nickel mine at Thio, Southern Province, New Caledonia Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images In August the economy of the nickel-rich French territory of New Caledonia ground to a halt as truck drivers set up barricades preventing movement at strategic points around the main island. The drivers called for

French elections reverberate in New Caledonia

    You might wonder whether the result of the recent second round of French departmental elections – with Nicolas Sarkozy taking credit for the UMP's win of 67 departments, trouncing Francois Hollande's Socialists, who got 34 – has anything to do with Australian

New Caledonia: Australia must show assertive impartiality

Thirty years ago to the week, New Caledonia was torn apart by violent protests. The pro-independence FLNKS boycotted an election and town halls were burned throughout the country. It provoked a four-year long civil war euphemistically known as 'the events'. At first, Australia supported the Kanak

New Caledonia: Australia's benevolent disregard

Imagine that the most senior leader of one of Australia's neighbours resigns suddenly during a visit by a minister. And that this follows an election where the winners cannot agree on allocating a key economic portfolio, a street protest where two policemen are shot and a boozy lunch where a senior

Elections for the future of New Caledonia

On Sunday 11 May elections were held in New Caledonia. They will have a big impact on the future of the French territory. These were the final elections under the 1998 Noumea Accord. This Accord, building on the 1988 Matignon Accords, put an end to bloodshed over demands for independence. They