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President’s visit sparks criticism

Monday 21 May 2018 | Published in Regional

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New Caledonia's Labour Party says it doesn't share the enthusiasm over the visit of the French president Emmanuel Macron's two weeks ago.

Its leader Louis Kotra Uregei criticised Macron's visit to the grave of the Kanak separatists shot dead in Ouvea in 1988 on exactly the day of the 30th anniversary.

He said the commemoration on that day should have been left to the victims' families but instead the president's arrival was staged to show he could go wherever he wanted and that no-one could impede him.

Kotra Uregei has also called into question the stance of the pro-independence parties who last year agreed to a deal in Paris to amend the electoral roll for the November referendum on independence from France.

He said with the concession made then, there can no longer be talk of a referendum on self-determination.

Although he declined to suggest a boycott, Kotra Uregei said his party would announce on July 14th whether it finds the conditions are met to take part in the plebiscite.

The last independence referendum in 1987 was boycotted by the pro-independence camp and more than 98 percent voted to stay with France.

Opinion polls published this month suggest a large majority is against independence.

- AFP