Politics of New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is a French sui generis collectivity 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]

Article 77 of the Constitution of France and the Organic Law 99-209 confers a unique status on New Caledonia 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.

Under article 4 of the Organic Law 99-209 a New Caledonian "citizenship" has also been introduced: only New Caledonian "citizens" (defined by article 188) 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. Following the timeline set by the Nouméa Accord, the groundwork was laid for a Referendum on full independence from France at a meeting chaired by the French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on 2 November 2017, with the referendum to be held by November 2018. Voter list eligibility had been a subject of a long dispute, but the details have were resolved at this meeting.[1] In the 2018 referendum, voters narrowly chose to remain a part of France.

The current president of the government elected by the Congress is Philippe Germain, from the loyalist (i.e. anti-independence) Caledonia Together political party.

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
High Commissioner Vincent Bouvier July 2014
President of the Government Philippe Germain TE 1 April 2015

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]

e • d Summary of the 11 May 2014
Territorial Congress of New Caledonia election results
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Caledonia Together 24,863 23.31 13 +8
The Rally–UMP (Front for Unity) 13,649 12.79 7 –6
Caledonian UnionFLINKS 13,602 12.75 9
Union for Caledonia in France 12,539 11.75 6 New
Build Our Rainbow Nation 12,289 11.52 6 New
National Union for Independence 8,876 8.32 6
Labour Party 3,678 3.45 1 –2
National Front 2,706 2.54 0 0
One Province for All (in coalition with Caledonia Together) 2,561 2.40 2 New
North Province Agreement (in coalition with Front for Unity) 2,191 2.05 1 New
Convergence Country 2,190 2.05 0 New
Party of Kanak Liberation 2,053 1.92 1
Aboriginal Dynamic 1,566 1.47 1 New
Union for Building the Loyalty Islands 1,564 1.47 1 New
The Other Voice 939 0.88 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 1,410
Total 106,650 100 54 0
Registered voters/turnout 152,457 69.95
Source: New Caledonia Government


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]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]