New Caledonia: Political structure

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
No abstract is available.
Politics, Summary, Political structure
Political Geography
New Caledonia

Form of state

A French overseas territory, autonomous except in areas such as foreign relations, defence, justice, currency and credit. The Nouméa Accord, signed in 1998, provides for the devolution of power to New Caledonia. On October 4th 2020 voters rejected complete independence from France by a margin of 53.3% to 46.7% in the second of three possible referendums. Turnout was high, at 85.7%. The result of the first referendum, in November 2018, was 56.7% to 43.3% in favour of the status quo. A third referendum is likely to take place in 2022

The executive

The French high commissioner for New Caledonia, Laurent Prévost (executive for the French state), and the New Caledonian Ministerial Cabinet (the local executive)

Head of state

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron

Territorial legislature

The 54-seat Territorial Congress, comprising the combined elected membership of the three provincial assemblies (15 members from North province, 32 from South province and seven from the province of the Loyalty Islands). Members are elected by universal suffrage for five-year terms

Local government

Three provincial assemblies, plus 33 basic local government units, known as communes

Legal system

The French system, augmented by mandatory consultation with the Advisory Council on Customs (Conseil coutumier territorial, comprising 40 members drawn from eight areas) in matters of customary and land law. Magistrates preside over the decentralised lower courts. The Court of Appeal is based in the capital, Nouméa, and there is access to the higher appeal court of France for certain matters

Territorial elections

Provincial assembly elections determine the composition of the Territorial Congress, which in turn elects an 11-member Ministerial Cabinet (the executive). The most recent provincial polls were held on May 12th 2019; the next are due in May 2024

Territorial government

Thierry Santa of the anti-independence coalition, L'Avenir en confiance (AC), was elected president of the territorial government in June 2019, replacing Philippe Germain, of the anti-independence party, Calédonie ensemble (CE), who had held the position since 2015. The anti-independence faction in the 11-member executive consists of six ministers; four from the AC, one from a relatively new party, L'Eveil océanien (EO), and one from CE. The pro-independence camp consists of three members of the Union calédonienne-Front de libération nationale kanak et socialiste et Nationalistes (UC-FLNKS et Nationalistes) and two representatives of the Union nationale pour l'indépendance (UNI) coalition

Main political organisations

The anti-independence camp comprises the AC-a coalition that includes the Rassemblement, the Mouvement populaire calédonien and Les Républicains Calédoniens-and the CE. A new party, the EO, is loosely aligned with the AC, but has voted against the coalition in the past. The pro-independence camp includes two main groups: UC-FLNKS et Nationalistes, which is particularly strong in the Loyalty Islands and North province, and UNI

President of the territorial government: Thierry Santa (AC)

President of North province: Paul Néaoutyine (FLNKS)

President of South province: Sonia Backès (AC)

President of Loyalty Islands province: Jacques Lalié (UC-FLNKS)

Deputies to the French National Assembly:

Philippe Dunoyer (CE)

Philippe Gomès (CE)

Representatives to the French Senate:

Pierre Frogier (Les Républicains)

Gérard Poadja (CE)

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