By RNZ Pacific
France’s new overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu says New Caledonia’s restrictions over the covid-19 pandemic will not affect the preparations for the October referendum on independence.
Lecornu gave the assessment during a visit to New Caledonia House in Paris.
Paris is expected to send dozens of officials and magistrates to supervise the plebiscite, and both foreign observers and journalists are due for the occasion.
However, anyone arriving in New Caledonia must go into a controlled two-week quarantine.
Lecornu said the foreign and the interior ministers as well as diplomatic posts would give instructions for distance voting, describing the role of the French state as impartial.
He said a document outlining the implications for New Caledonia in case of a vote for independence was still in preparation and would be presented to the parties concerned by the French High Commissioner in Noumea.
In the first of three possible referendums in 2018, just under 57 percent voted for the status quo.
Should voters again reject independence this year, another referendum can be called by New Caledonia’s Congress within two years.
French Overseas Territories Minister Sebastien Lecornu at New Caledonia House in Paris … a document outlining the French implications of a vote for independence is still being developed. Image: RNZ/French Overseas Ministry