In the Senate in Paris, Senator Pierre Frogier, former president of the New Caledonian government, proposed new institutions for New Caledonia.
The New Caledonia institutions are currently composed of three provinces, each province has its own powers. They are managed by a provincial assembly. These three provinces are combined into another institution called New Caledonia, which is managed by a government headed by a president.
More powers for the provinces
Pierre Frogier has proposed to French parliamentarians to give more powers to the provinces at the expense of New Caledonia. Each province would have a customary council made up of the chiefdoms of the customary areas. The State would retain its powers (police, army, justice, currency). New Caledonia would be replaced by a simple “mediating college”, composed of the State representative and representatives of the provincial assemblies, whose president would be responsible for “representing New Caledonia in all circumstances”.
These proposals are received very “coolly” in Caledonia. The independentists and many non-independents see it as an attempt at partition. Partition consists of cutting Caledonia in two or three in order to ensure that the southern part, where the capital Nouméa is located, remains French. Partition refers to French Algeria. In the 1950s, supporters of French Algeria had imagined that one part of Algeria would become independent and another part would remain French. The war decided otherwise and all of Algeria gained independence in 1962.
Waiting for the third referendum
Pierre Frogier’s plan has little chance of being implemented. A third referendum on the independence of New Caledonia could be held in the coming months. The first two in 2018 and 2020 resulted in a NO victory for independence (56% and 53%).
Photo : Pierre Frogier at the Senate, in Paris > Credit : Sénat.fr