The State will ensure strict compliance of the Noumea Accord
Tuesday 25th February 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
Madam Sonia Lagarde,
Thank you for your question, which is an opportunity for me to recall that indeed the state has a key role in the implementation of the Nouméa Accord of 1998.
It is that of a neutral partner, but at the same time active. A committed partner, who is also attentive to the aspirations of all the communities that make up New Caledonia today. And as you rightly pointed out, 2014 is essential to the future of New Caledonia. Indeed, it is the Congress that is set up as a result of the next provincial elections on May 11 that will decide the date of the referendum under the Noumea Accord.
I remember what I had said on July 26 last year in Noumea before Congress of New Caledonia, and we have had the opportunity to discuss the topic of: "with the exception of a solution that unifies all Caledonians, the issue of New Caledonia’s access to full sovereignty will be submitted to a referendum no later than 2018 under the terms provided by the Noumea Accord. "
You ask me specifically about the revision of electoral rolls. This revision of the special electoral lists will begin next Monday, and it is particularly important in this perspective. We are now at a time when everyone must weigh their words and also their responsibilities with regards to history. I know I can rely on the sense of responsibility of each person, so that the differences which can or will appear, remain within the framework of dialogue, that all partners of the Matignon and Noumea agreements have managed to preserve and strengthen since 1998.
Everyone here is aware of the difficult debates that have passed through the negotiations of these agreements and parliamentary debates in 1999 and the constitutional amendment in February 2007. But the Caledonians, as with the French people as a whole, may be certain that the State will ensure strict compliance of the Noumea Accord. I stated it while in New Caledonia last July and twice previously whilst chairing the meeting of signatories to Matignon : I am personally committed.
On the issue of restricted electorate, please rest assured that the High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia, which represents all of the Government, and who has my complete trust, will work to ensure strict adherence to regulations, so that the revisions will conform to the intent of the signatories of the Nouméa Accord. That is that all voters in provincial elections must be adults settled in New Caledonia on November 8, 1998, at the latest, after having met the requirement of 10 years of residence, and their descendants who are of age. That’s the Noumea Accords.
A study of the conditions of setup in New Caledonia in 1998 must be conducted with care, on the basis of consultation with the general electoral roll of 1998 or of any evidence of its set up.
These principles are clear, they are the ones that the government intends to follow through with, with all the serenity and pedagogy necessary. I will continue to act in accordance with the commitments made by the State, in particular under the leadership of Michel Rocard and Lionel Jospin. I know I can count on the good sense of all those who have a public responsibility, whatever their sensitivity, in New Caledonia.
Madam Lagarde, I have told you, I had the opportunity to discuss with you and parliamentarians from different backgrounds, I know that all measure the difficulty of this period of 2014 as a very important step. But I trust in the spirit of responsibility, respect for each other, that ensure that New Caledonia, whatever their choice will preserve the peace and cohesion of her own destiny.