Politics of New Caledonia

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
New Caledonia

New Caledonia is a French overseas country with a system of government based on parliamentarism and representative democracy. The President of the Government is the head of government, and there is a multi-party system, with Executive power being exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Congress of New Caledonia. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Political developments[edit]

The unique status of New Caledonia is in between that of an independent country and a regular collectivité d'outre-mer or overseas collectivité of France. A territorial congress and government have been established, and the 1998 Nouméa Accord organized a devolution of powers. Key areas such as taxation, labor law, health and hygiene and foreign trade are already in the hands of the Congress. Further powers will supposedly be given to the Congress in the near future.

A New Caledonian "citizenship" has also been introduced: only New Caledonian "citizens" have the right to vote in the local elections. This measure has been criticized, because it creates a second-class status for French citizens living in New Caledonia who do not possess New Caledonian "citizenship" (because they settled in the territory recently). New Caledonia is also allowed to engage in international cooperation with independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. Finally, the territorial Congress is allowed to pass statutes that are contrary[further explanation needed] to French law in a certain number of areas.

On the other hand, New Caledonia remains an integral part of the French Republic. Inhabitants of New Caledonia are French citizens and carry French passports. They take part in the legislative and presidential French elections. New Caledonia sends two representatives to the French National Assembly and two senators to the French Senate. The representative of the French central state in New Caledonia is the High Commissioner of the Republic (Haut-Commissaire de la République, locally known as "haussaire"), who is the head of civil services, and who sits in the government of the territory.

The Nouméa Accord stipulates that the Congress will have the right to call for a referendum on independence after 2014, at a time of its choosing.

The current president of the government elected by the Congress is Harold Martin, from the loyalist (i.e. anti-independence) "Future Together" party (l'Avenir Ensemble), which toppled the long-time ruling Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (RPCR) in May 2004. "Future Together" is a party of mostly Caucasian and Polynesian New Caledonians opposed to independence but tired of the hegemonic and allegedly corrupt anti-independence RPCR. Their toppling of the RPCR (that was until then seen as the only voice of New Caledonian whites) was a surprise to many, and a sign that the society of New Caledonia is undergoing changes. "Future together", as the name implies, is opposed to a racial vision of New Caledonian society, which divides into opposing camps Melanesians native inhabitants and European settlers, and is in favor of a multicultural New Caledonia, better reflecting the existence of large populations of Polynesians, Indonesians, Chinese, and other immigrants. Some members of "Future Together" are even in favor of greater autonomy or even independence, though not necessarily on the same basis as the Melanesian independence parties, which seek full independence for New Caledonia.

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
High Commissioner Albert Dupuy 25 October 2007
President of the Government Harold Martin AE 11 March 2011

The high commissioner is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior. The president of the government is elected by the members of the Territorial Congress.

Legislative branch[edit]

The Congress (Congrès) has 54 members, being the members of the three regional councils, all elected for a five-year term by proportional representation. Furthermore there is a 16 member Kanak Customary Senate (two members from each of the eight customary aires).

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in New Caledonia. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in New Caledonia.
e • d Summary of the 10 May 2009 Territorial Congress of New Caledonia election results
Parties Votes % Seats
The Rally–UMP (Le Rassemblement–UMP) 19,888 20.60% 13
Caledonia Together (Calédonie Ensemble) 16,253 16.83% 10
Future TogetherThe Movement for Diversity (Avenir Ensemble–Le Mouvement de la diversité) 11,308 11.71% 6
  • 5
  • 1
Rally for Caledonia (Rassemblement pour la Calédonie) 4,304 4.46% 2
National Front (Front National) 2,591 2.68% 0
Other anti-independence lists 1,125 1.17% 0
Total Anti-independence 55,469 57.45% 31
Caledonian Union (Union Calédonienne) 11,247 11.65% 8
National Union for Independence–Kanak Social National Liberation Front (Union Nationale pour l'Indépendance–Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste) 10,162 10.52% 8
  • 7
  • 1
Labour Party (Parti Travailliste) 7,692 7.97% 3
Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front unitary (Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste) 5,342 5.53% 3
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
Socialist Kanak Liberation (Libération kanak socialiste) 1,852 1.92% 1
Federation of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees (Fédération des Comités de la Coopération pour l'Indépendance) 605 0.63% 0
Total Pro-independence 36,900 38.22% 23
Civic Overture (Ouverture Citoyenne) 2,974 3.08% 0
Generation Common Destiny (Génération Destin Commun) 1,215 1.26% 0
Valid votes 96,558 98.00% 54
Invalid votes 1,962 2.00%
Total votes (turnout 72.48%) 98,520
Source: lematin.ch

Parliamentarians[edit]

French National Assembly[edit]

  • Sonia Lagarde (first constituency, Caledonia Together, CE) elected 2012
  • Philippe Gomès (second constituency, Caledonia Together, CE) elected 2012

French Senate[edit]

  • Pierre Frogier (Rassemblement-UMP), elected 2011
  • Hilarion Tumi Vendégou (Rassemblement-UMP), elected 2011

Judicial branch[edit]

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court

Administrative divisions[edit]

New Caledonia is divided into three provinces: Province des Îles, Province Nord, and Province Sud - which are further subdivided into 33 communes.

International organization participation[edit]

External links[edit]

French[edit]