IB 2018/16 The New Caledonian Referendum on Independence (Part 3): Key Issues

DPA in brief image

Author/s (editor/s):

Scott Robertson

Publication year:


Publication type:

In Brief

On 4 November 2018, eligible New Caledonian voters will participate in a referendum on whether the territory will become independent from France. President Emmanuel Macron made his first visit to the territory on 3–5 May and committed to respect the outcome of the vote, as did his predecessor François Hollande. His visit coincided with the marking of 30 years since the deaths of 21 people during a French military operation to rescue gendarmes taken hostage by pro-independence partisans on the island of Ouvéa in 1988. A year later, widely respected pro-independence leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou was gunned down while observing a commemoration for the 19 Kanak victims. Macron’s visit also coincided with the 20-year anniversary of the Noumea Accord, which consolidated peace and created New Caledonia’s present political institutions.

Local political parties have long been focused on the upcoming vote. With less than six months until the referendum, this In Brief, building on Parts 1 and 2 (Robertson 2017, 2018), focuses on three major issues likely to feature in the vote: the economy, security, and citizenship and identity.

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