Matignon Agreements (1988)

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The Matignon Agreements were agreements signed in the Hôtel Matignon by Jean-Marie Tjibaou and Jacques Lafleur on 26 June 1988 between loyalists who wanted to keep New Caledonia as a part of the French Fifth Republic, and separatists, who did not. The agreements were arranged under the aegis of the Government of France as a result of discussions and compromises arranged by Christian Blanc, the negoiator for Michel Rocard's government.

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The accords set up a ten-year period of development. Institutional and economical provisions were made for the Kanak community. The New Caledonians agreed not to raise the independence issue during this period.

The agreements provided amnesty for those involved in the Ouvéa cave hostage taking incident of 1988, and interdicted all proceedings in regard to the deaths of four gendarmes and 19 members of the independentist Kanaks.

The Matignon Agreements were approved by French and New Caledonian voters in a referendum held on 6 November 1988, in which voters were asked "Do you agree to allow New Caledonian residents to vote for self-determination in 1998?".[1] A majority voters – 80% – voted for New Caledonian residents to determine whether or not to institute self-determination. The voter participation in the referendum was 37%, with 12% of the ballots blank or void.[2]

On 5 May 1998 the Nouméa Accord was signed under the aegis of Lionel Jospin. It scheduled the transfer of sovereignty for 2018. The territory will be fully independent, except the fields of defence, security, the judiciary, and finance, which will be competencies of France. The accord was approved by 72% of voters in a referendum in New Caledonia held on 8 November.[3]

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