January 26, 2022

252 delegates arrived to frame the independence referendum

A UN expert mission is also present to supervise the ballot.

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More than 250 delegates from a control commission created especially for the occasion arrived in Nouméa, Wednesday, December 1 in the evening, to ensure the sincerity and the regularity of the third referendum on the independence of New Caledonia. Arrived by a chartered flight for the poll, these delegates (executives of prefectures or judicial and administrative magistrates) will be distributed to all the polling places on December 12. They will be in all 260, 252 arrived from France and 8 recruited locally, said the High Commission of the Republic.

Under the health protocol in force in New Caledonia, all arrivals had to present a complete vaccination schedule and will be confined for seven days in a hotel, before performing a screening test. A UN expert mission is also present to oversee this referendum, which will ask the 185,004 Caledonian voters the question: “Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?”

This latest ballot in the process of decolonization of the Noumea Accord is shunned by the separatists. They were asking for it to be postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic, which “prevents a fair campaign from being conducted”, according to them. They have already warned that they will not recognize its result and will challenge it in international forums. “The vote is not compulsory, this element of context will not mar the sincerity of the ballot”, estimated Francis Lamy, State Councilor and Chairman of the Control Commission. Two referenda on independence have already taken place in November 2018 and October 2020, with the proposal being rejected by 56.7% of the votes and then 53.3%.