IB 2020/31 The Role of Social Media in New Caledonia’s Referendums on Self-determination
The French Pacific collectivity of New Caledonia has held two referendums on its political status under the 1998 Noumea Accord, on 4 November 2018 and 4 October 2020. Both referendums saw a majority of registered voters decide against independence, to remain within the French Republic. But the narrow margin of 57% ‘No’ to 43% ‘Yes’ in 2018, and a closer result 53% to 47% in 2020, suggests the territory will move to the third and final vote by 2022, as proposed under the agreement.
Although traditional methods still dominated during the referendum campaigns (public meetings, rallies, posters and so forth), all political forces in New Caledonia have increased their use of social media. This In Brief discusses the use of social media by the main independence coalition Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), and by parties opposed to independence, such as Calédonie ensemble and the six-member alliance the Loyalists (Les Loyalistes).