New Caledonia elections to be delayed, ahead of crucial constitutional reforms

France's national assembly has voted on postponing provincial elections in New Caledonia that are a prerequisite for constitutional reforms that are supposed to review the electoral system in the French overseas territory.

This Monday – following the vote's validation by the Senate – members of the French parliament are now considering what will be a very brief legislation, that will postpone the provincial elections in New Caledonia slated for this May "to 15 December 2024 at the latest".

The elections are crucial for New Caledonia, where the regional provinces hold a large proportion of the territory's powers.

The postponement of a few months is the first – and least sensitive – stage in the long journey expected to reform the archipelago's institutions, against a backdrop of stalled negotiations with pro-independence parties.

The new deadline is "reasonable in order to give local political negotiations a chance to reach a successful conclusion", according to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

The government is working on a constitutional reform that promises to be much more fraught, since the two main pro-independence parties in New Caledonia are opposed to it at this stage.

'Frozen electorate'

Read more on RFI English

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