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New Caledonia - Government

The Matignon Agreements signed in 1988 had involved a political rebalancing, with greater support for those supporting independence, reflected in the leadership of two provinces as well as at the budgetary level. France exercised its powers only in certain areas and Caledonians were also involved in some of those decisions, and in the case of the judiciary, the Territory had its own established customary approaches and laws.

The 1998 Noumea Accord provided that the political and social organizational structure of New Caledonia should, to a large extent, reflect the uniqueness of the Kanak people. To that end, new customary structures and bodies were being established in New Caledonia. Agreement had been reached on the separation of powers between the State and New Caledonia, in other words, on the process of the gradual sharing of sovereignty. Many areas of responsibility had been transferred from the French State to the Territory, except for the sovereign skills (defense, security, justice and currency) that would remain competences of the French Republic. The French State, represented by the High Commissioner of the Republic, retains the sovereign powers. The High Commissioner participates by right in government meetings.

There are two principal political groupings and numerous small parties. The two groupings in question are the Rassemblement pour la Calédonie dans la République (RPCR) and the Front de libération nationale kanake socialiste (FLNKS). The constituents of FLNKS are the Union calédonienne (UC), the Parti de libération kanak (PALIKA), the Union progressiste mélanésienne and the Parti socialiste calédonien (PSC).

New Caledonia is organized in 3 provinces (North Province, South Province, Loyalty Islands Province). The provinces are territorial authorities that have a common law jurisdiction, that is to say that they are competent in all matters that are not reserved by law to the State, the territory and the communes. They are freely administered by assemblies elected for five years by direct universal suffrage. The three provincial assemblies designate the Congress.

The Legislative branch is a unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du Territoire (54 seats; members indirectly selected proportionally by the partisan makeup of the 3 Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales; members of the 3 Provincial Assemblies directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms). The Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, the indigenous population, which rules on laws affecting the indigenous population.

The Congress is competent to manage the affairs common to the entire New Caledonian territory. His skills are listed exhaustively by the organic law. These include taxation, the repression of fraud, price regulation, guiding principles of planning law, civil procedure, the organization of territorial services, the rules of health public health and social protection.

The Customary Senate is the assembly of the various customary councils of the Kanak country, it is seized of the projects and proposals of the law of the country or deliberation relating to the Kanak identity. The Customary Senate is composed of sixteen members nominated by each customary council, according to customary customary practices of two representatives per customary area. In its consultative function, the Customary Senate is compulsorily questioned on the draft deliberations of New Caledonia or a Province for the "interest identity kanake", within the meaning of the Nouméa Agreement. In addition, it has a deliberative function concerning the country's draft laws or proposals concerning identity signs, customary civil status and the land regime. It also has the power to seize the Government, the Congress or Province of any proposal of interest to Kanak identity. A new President is appointed each year, in August or September, according to the principle of rotating presidency between eight customary areas. The Customary Senate is also represented in certain institutions and public institutions.

The executive of New Caledonia is constituted by the Government. Elected by the Congress, he is responsible to him. This government is collegial and is headed by a president. The latter, as well as the members of the Government, retain their mandate until the expiry of that of the Congress which elected them. Each member of the Government is in charge of the control and the animation of a sector of the administration placed under the authority of the territorial collectivity of New Caledonia.

Under the collegial government system in New Caledonia, the resignation of a single minister automatically triggers the fall of the entire government. Collegial government is one of the most innovative elements of the current status of New Caledonia. It is in its composition that this institution is original and original. Indeed, in the spirit of the Nouméa Agreement, and so that its local signatories build together the Caledonia of tomorrow, its members, from five to eleven, are elected by the deliberative assembly by the proportional representation list.

Four governments in Noumea collapsed in 2011 amid a deepening row over which flag the territory should use. After the last government collapse, the Congress agreed to no longer convene for an election, pending reforms, while Harold Martin was being retained to lead a caretaker administration.

Elections were held on 11 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019). Pro-France parties secured 29 of the 54 seats and had a majority. The government that was elected on 11 May 2014 collapsed within 6 months leading to a new election on 31 December 2014 which reelected the same government. Following three months of caretaker government, Philippe Germain was appointed President of the Government of New Caledonia on 2 April 2015 when a pro-independence politician decided to vote for Philippe Germain as president.

Again in 2017 anti-independence politician Philippe Germain was unsuccessful in getting majority support from the 11-member government. Only five members voted for him on 24 October 2017. The pro-independence side, which had the remaining five seats in the 11-member government, abstained. Germain had failed three times to be elected since the new government was formed in August 2017. This meant the election process was incomplete and the old government continued in office as a caretaker administration.

The problem was that there was a rift within the loyalist, or anti-independence, camp. There were six on their side and only five voted for Philippe Germain, the only candidate for the presidency. He needed six votes to be elected. One of the loyalists, Christopher Gyges who was newly elected as well, refused to vote for Germain. This meant he can only get five votes. The pro-independence ministers kept abstaining, saying it is for the loyalists to sort out their differences.

New Caledonia holds 2 seats in the French Senate. Elections were held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held not later than September 2017); results seats by party - UMP 2. Two anti-independence politicians were elected on 25 September 2017 as New Caledonia's members of the French Senate for a six-year term. They were chosen by an electoral college of 552 members who were called to vote at the French High Commission in Noumea.

New Caledonia also elects 2 seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held by June 2022); results seats by party - CE 2.

The leader of France's National Front Marine Le Pen restated that she is against New Caledonia becoming independent. In a tweet 05 November 2017, she said New Caledonia is France: "I am against the independence of New Caledonia! New Caledonia is France!" Ms Le Pen also said her party came first in New Caledonia. In the election in May 2017, she achieved her best result outside mainland France, winning 47 percent of the vote while Emmanuel Macron won 53 percent.

Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel is organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; court bench normally includes the court president and 2 counsilors); Administrative Court (number of judges NA); note - final appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are referred to the Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation in Paris; final appeals beyond the Administrative Court are referred to the Administrative Court of Appeal (in Paris).

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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:42:30 ZULU