A referendum regarding whether New Caledonia should become independent from France will be held throughout the territory on Sunday, October 4. The poll had originally been scheduled to be held on September 6 but was postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The October 4 date comes despite the New Caledonian Congress voting for October 25 as the date for the referendum.
Protests and rallies by groups favoring and opposing independence should be anticipated in the period running up to, during, and after the poll.
The referendum is being held as part of the conditions set out under the 1998 Nouméa Accord between the French government and pro and anti-independence groups on New Caledonia. Aside from giving the territory greater autonomy, the Accord allows for up to three referendums on independence up to 2022. The first of these votes was held in November 2018, with 57 percent of voters rejecting independence. If the 2020 poll rejects independence, a third poll may be held in either 2021 or 2022.
Those in New Caledonia are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and political gatherings, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer