France launches online New Caledonia unity campaign

The French government has launched online consultations in New Caledonia to help foster a sense of unity in the face of November‘s independence referendum.

People are being asked to tell the French High Commission by mid-June what they consider to be the values shared by all the territory‘s communities.

Wednesday 19-07-2017. Protestors in Noumea the Commission politique et citoyenneté du FLNKS et Nationalistes tweeted – “The protest for a right to vote,” with an FLNKS flag emoticon. Photo: Commission politique et citoyenneté du FLNKS et Nationalistes

The aim of the exercise is to provide evidence of what unites New Caledonians.

An anti-independence politician Philippe Dunoyer said the opportunity should be grasped to show that what brings New Caledonians together is more important than what keeps them apart.

A pro-independence politician Louis Mapou said his side has already been campaigning on the idea of shared values and the findings could be turned into a preamable of a new constitution of Kanaky-New Caledonia.

As part of the Noumea Accord, a new hymn has been adopted but plans to agree on a flag have faltered.

Downtown Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

In 2011, a dispute over which flag should be flown triggered the government to collapse three times in four weeks.

In the last referendum on independence in 1987, more than 98 percent voted to stay with France.

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