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Secretary General of the Union of Caledonia: “France has deviated from the path of peace in New Caledonia”

AA / Paris / Esra Taskin

France has deviated from the path of peace in its overseas territory of New Caledonia, a pro-independence politician has said.

The Pacific archipelago has been in turmoil since May 13, when the French parliament passed a bill aimed at reforming electoral rules.

However, residents of the archipelago fear that these changes will reduce the electoral weight of the indigenous Kanak population.

Dominic Fauci, secretary general of the Caledonian Union, one of the oldest political parties, told Anadolu that the island was colonized by France in 1853.

He also recalled that the Kanak had since opposed the French policy of retaining the territory.

Fauci explained that some Kanaks won the right to vote in 1946, but the entire population could not vote until 1957.

Many French settled in New Caledonia in the 1970s for professional reasons, which destabilized the demographic structure and electorate and transformed the Kanaks into a minority, according to Fochi.

The politician added that the French government rushed to organize a third referendum in 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the referendum was held every two years.

“The French state forced things to steal our victory,” Fauci said, adding: “It broke the Noumea agreement. From that moment, we considered that the state has lost its impartiality.”

According to the 1998 Noumea Agreement, people who arrived on the island after that year cannot vote in local elections.

If the reform bill is passed, 25,900 new French voters will be added to the electorate, representing 14% of the total electorate, Fochi reported.

The current government is repeating the mistakes made in the 1980s, noted the general secretary of the Caledonian Union, explaining that a Canac delegation had traveled to Paris to warn lawmakers about the risks of reform.

But MPs did not listen and passed the reform, Fauci said, adding: “The government is responsible for everything that happened in the country. If the bill had been withdrawn, all this could have been avoided.”

Recent events in the archipelago have shown that the Kanak will not accept and will not accept colonization, he says.

And to continue: “Our struggle is just and legitimate, but we also call for international support, because we are a small population in the Pacific Ocean that needs support to be respected in the process of decolonization.”

After unrest broke out in New Caledonia, France declared a state of emergency and deployed additional forces to help local forces restore order.

Gabriel Atal’s government sparked controversy by banning access to the social media app TikTok in New Caledonia on May 15, shortly after tensions rose, although the French executive explained that the measure was aimed at preventing communication among the rioters.

Recent riots in New Caledonia have left seven dead and more than 370 injured, according to local French authorities.

*Translated from English by Murad Belhaj

Source: AA

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