France welcomes New Caledonia’s new president before the final independence vote on the territory

Paris-France’s Overseas French Minister announced on Thursday that New Caledonia elected Luis Mapou as the first independent president since the 1998 agreement with Paris to give more political power to French Pacific territory. Welcomed.

New Caledonia, which operates the Brazilian multinational mining company Vale and the French mining group Eramet, was hit by a riot last year.

The archipelago became a French colony in 1853, and there has long been tension between the indigenous Kanaks, who support independence, and the descendants of colonial pioneers who are loyal to Paris.

“I welcome the New Caledonian Government’s agreement to appoint a president. Congratulations to Louis Mapou and wishes him success. We have in common in Paris and video conferencing. We invite him to discuss various issues that we are having, “Sebastian Le Cornu said on Twitter.

The elections will take place months before the third and final referendum, under which the 1998 agreement, known as the Noumea Accord, can legally undertake whether the island will leave France.

Both the referendums before 2018 and 2020 failed to win a majority in favor of independence, but support for the rest of France fell from 56.7% in 2018 to 53.26% in 2020. ..

New Caledonia is approximately 1,200 km (750 miles) east of Australia and 20,000 km (12,500 miles) from Paris.

Under French colonial rule, Kanak was confined to protected areas and excluded from much of the island’s economy. The first rebellion broke out in 1878, shortly after the discovery of a large nickel deposit.

By 2022, up to three referendums will be allowed under the terms of the 1998 Noumea Accord, an agreement set out in the French Constitution that sets the course for decolonization for 20 years. It was.

Dominique Vidaron

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