New Caledonia’s pro-independence camp wins historic election

Wednesday 17 February 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Caledonia, Regional

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New Caledonia’s pro-independence camp wins historic election
Pro-independence Kanaks protest the sale of New Caledonia's Vale nickel plant PHOTO: Supplied FB Instance Coutumière Autochtone de Négociation

New Caledonia has elected a pro-independence government, its first since 1999.

Wednesday's vote follows the collapse this month of the tenuous power sharing government led by conservative president Thierry Santa.

New Caledonia's 54 seat Congress has cast its votes for a new 11 member government.

The anti-independence coalition of loyalists, L'Avenir en Confiance got 18 votes securing four ministerial portfolios and Caledonie Ensemble secured one portfolio with six votes.

On the pro-independence side, the combined Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and Pacific Awakening slate garnered 16 votes securing 3 portfolios and the National Union for Independence or UNI also secured 3 portfolios with 14 votes. Pacific Awakening is largely supported by constituents from Wallis and Futuna.

The historic vote means that, for the first time since 1999, the pro-independence bloc have the majority with six of the 11 seats in the new government.

It is now all but certain a pro-independence politician will be elected president of the French territory for the first time in almost four decades.

The scene is now set for the third and final referendum on independence from France.