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New Caledonia riots rage on after Paris approves voting change

15/5/2024 12:24
        Gunshots could be heard and schools remained shut in New Caledonia's capital Noumea on Wednesday morning after a night of rioting despite a curfew, as France's National Assembly approved changes to voting rules in the Pacific island.
        
        Lawmakers in Paris voted 351 to 153 in favour of the bill to allow French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in provincial elections - a move some local leaders fear will dilute the indigenous Kanak vote.
        
        The French government says the change is needed so elections are democratic in the country's territory, although President Emmanuel Macron has offered to hold dialogue between New Caledonia's pro- and anti-independence camps before a special congress of the two houses of parliament rubber-stamps the bill.
        The major pro-independence political group, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), said in a statement on Wednesday it would accept Macron's offer of dialogue and was willing to work toward an agreement "that would allow New Caledonia to follow its path toward emancipation".
        



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