Overseas Minister Sébastien Lecornu says he is in favor of a “new status” for New Caledonia in the event of a no to the 3rd independence referendum to be held by September 2022, in a forum published in the JDD .
“The status quo is not possible, neither politically, nor legally, nor even economically”, assures the minister in search of a “new consensual solution for New Caledonia” in “absolute respect for the process of self-determination “. He congratulated himself on having been able to “re-establish a dialogue which had been broken off for too long between the two camps” since October.
“If, three times, New Caledonia confirmed its wish to remain French, it would then be appropriate to give it a new status in the Republic,” said the minister. For this, “those who call to vote no should also reach out to almost half of the voters who will have voted yes: the Republic is a promise of unification”.
“Conversely, dry independence, without preparation, appears insurmountable. Its human, social and economic consequences would undoubtedly be disastrous”, warns the minister in an ultra-sensitive political context, while the two branches of the independence coalition of the FLNKS are in conflict to appoint the president of the collegiate government.
These dissensions come at a time when the separatists are in the majority in the government for the first time since the start of the Nouméa Accord (1998) and when New Caledonia is facing an economic and budgetary crisis, partly due to the setbacks of the sector. nickel.
“The State initiated, in January, a major consultation of civil society” to respond to “the deep aspirations of Caledonians”, recalls Mr. Lecornu for whom “the clock continues to tick and the next few days will be decisive “.
Independence, “nobody claims it”, estimates the minister according to which “the separatists agree to wish a partnership with France. It would still be necessary to be able to discuss it. Those who call to vote yes must explain their vision of l future to those who call to vote no and, for that, return to the table of discussions “, claims the minister.
The first two referendums, on November 4, 2018 and October 4, 2020, were won by supporters of France, but their score fell in two years from 56.7% to 53.3%.
The explosive dossier of the takeover of the metallurgical plant of the Brazilian group Vale is at the origin of the fall of the government on February 2, caused by the resignation en bloc of the five independentist “ministers”.
The FLNKS and the Kanak chiefdoms oppose the takeover by a consortium comprising the Swiss commodities trader, Trafigura.