Philippe Germain, the former non-independentist president of New Caledonia’s government believes that the referendums are not the solution to draw the future of the country. He’s pointing out several reasons to that.
Lines of division
The first one is that the lines of division among the New Caledonians are not only political, but ethnic, cultural and social.
The second reason, according to Philippe Germain, is “that it’s not possible to conceive of a serene future for New Caledonia with a victory of half the population over the other half, which would result in proclaiming winners and losers.” Indeed, it should be remembered that the “No” camp won the second referendum on independence – held on October 4 – with only 53% of the votes.
Philippe Germain was President of the Government of New Caledonia for four years (2015-2019) and is considered to be a centrist. He has recently published an op-ed in which he explains that New Caledonia “is in an dead end from which it’s vital to break before it’s too late.”
Philippe Germain proposes to seek what options are likely to gather and to link the New Caledonians.
“If we’re not able to agree on a status,” the current Minister of Sustainable Development writes, “whether we are independent or not, there’s one thing we are likely to agree on, and that is to define the contours and content of a new ‘country’ that brings us together and that resembles us.”
Philippe Germain then quotes Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the independence leader that signed the Noumea Accord, who declared in 1979 that “the common choice of a project of New Caledonian society is perhaps more enthralling than the demand for independence”. The main question is to define a new society model. And it’s a kind of a revolution without weapon that the member of Caledonia together proposes.
On the political chess board, Philippe Germain is far from “L’Avenir en confiance” (Future with confidence), the leading party among the non-independentist camp. Admittedly, the AEC called for dialogue just after the second referendum, but this right-wing party is probably not ready to go that far with the independentists;
The coming weeks are going to be decisive for the future of New Caledonia. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said he would closely follow the “New Caledonian dossier”. And his Overseas minister, Sébastien Lecornu, has already arrived in New Caledonia to meet with the key leaders of all sides.
Photo > President Macron with Philippe Germain (right) and Emmanuel Tjibaou, Jean-Marie Tjibaou’s son (left). Credit : supplied.