The ethnic Wallisian party in New Caledonia’s Congress, which holds the balance of power, has pulled out of its partnership with the pro-independence Caledonian Union.
The leader of the Pacific Awakening Party Milakulo Tukumuli made the announcement to withdraw its three members a week after the Caledonian Union Congress.
At the Congress, the Caledonian Union president Daniel Goa said as Pacific Islanders, the Wallisian and Futunians needed to understand that they had to side with the pro-independence camp, and that they were not above the issue.
However, Tukumuli said he doesn’t want his party to be used as a tool in the rivalry between the pro-and anti-independence sides, adding that the party was formed in 2019 to get away from these binary politics of yes or no to independence.
In the 54-member Congress, the pro-independence parties have 26 seats and the anti-independence parties 25, giving the three Pacific Awakening members the balance of power.
In 2019, they helped elect the Caledonian Union’s Roch Wamytan as the new Congress president.
In the election of the government, however, they sided with the anti-independence parties which led to the formation of the government of Thierry Santa.
At the Caledonian Union meeting, Goa was adamant that the party would not give up on the gains regarding decolonisation from France under the 1998 Noumea Accord.
The pro-independence parties said they regarded last December’s independence referendum as illegitimate.
Goa also reiterated the pro-independence camp’s stance that it wouldn’t join any discussions about re-integrating New Caledonia into France.
The parties said after the French election they would negotiate with Paris to regain sovereignty.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS