French residents affiliated with the "One Heart One Vote" civic group have staged a demonstration in Nouméa on Sunday, October 18, to demand voting rights in provincial elections. Protesters gathered outside of the French High Commission where the French Minister of Overseas, Sebastien Lecornu, is undergoing quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Further protests regarding the issue, with associated disruptions and an increased police presence, cannot be ruled out.
Although able to participate in municipal and French national elections, around 40,000 French residents of New Caledonia are not eligible to vote in provincial elections and referendums in the territory, which are only open to indigenous Kanaks and those who moved to the territory before the signing of the 1998 Noumea Accord.
Sunday's independence referendum, the second to be held under the conditions of the Noumea Accord, resulted in a narrow 53 percent majority in support of remaining aligned with France, a slight decrease from the 56 percent 'no' vote during the first referendum in November 2018. A third independence referendum is scheduled to be held in 2022.
Individuals in Nouméa are advised to monitor the situation, avoid any demonstration, protest, or mass gathering, and to adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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