Nouméa Accord

The Nouméa Accord of 1998 is a promise by the French Republic to grant political power to New Caledonia and its original population, the Kanaks, until the territory decided whether to remain a special collectivity of France or become an independent state in a referendum held in 2018.[1] France would continue to control military and foreign policy, immigration, police and currency until that time, and afterwards if the population chose to remain French.

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
New Caledonia

Named after New Caledonia's capital and largest city, the Nouméa Accord was the second accord following the Matignon Agreements (1988). It was signed 5 May 1998 by Lionel Jospin, and approved in a referendum in New Caledonia on 8 November, with 72% voting in favour.

Under the conditions of the Accord, which also gave additional autonomy to the island, the Vice President of New Caledonia must be a pro-independence politician if the Presidency is held by an anti-independence politician.[2][3]


The following people signed the Nouméa Accord on 5 May 1998:

Popular consultation for approval of the accords was organised in New Caledonia on Sunday November 8, 1998.


The local political class is divided on the question of the Nouméa agreement.

The following political figures and parties call for a "yes" vote, for reasons that are often diametrically opposed between supporters and opponents of independence:

  • the two main signatories, Jacques Lafleur's RPCR (which focuses on "at least 20 years of peace and stability" and a "future in the Republic") and Rock Wamytan's FLNKS (on behalf of the general interest of the country and future generations "),
  • the other two independentist movements, of moderate tradition, represented in the institutions, the Socialist Kanak Liberation Party (LKS) of Nidoïsh Naisseline ("the future of our country is at stake") and the Federation of Committees Coordinating Independents (FCCI) of Raphael Mapou, Leopold Jorédié and François Burck ("yes to the long march of the men and women of this country, the yes to our common history so that it does not stop").
  • the various mayors of Bourail and Dumbéa, respectively Jean-Pierre Aïfa and Bernard Marant, long-time opponents of the RPCR
  • Delin Wema, former Kanak RPCR executive in the North Province who became one of the leading figures in the new party Developing Together to Build the Future (DECA),
  • Thierry Valet and Jean-Claude Legras, two members of Congress from Une Nouvelle-Calédonie pour tous (UNCT, an organisation created by dissidents from RPCR which subsequently became the principal opposition to Jacques Lafleur within the anti-indepdence camp), who put themselves at odds with the official position of their movement (for them, the "Yes ... reconciles at the same time the respect of the others, of their culture, their way of life and the necessary mobilization of all energies to develop the economy of New Caledonia to guarantee social progress and full employment").

The "no" side featured:

  • the two main moderate anti-independence parties in opposition to RPCR: Dider Leroux's UNCT, which saw the Accord as paving the way for a "banana republic", reinforcing the hegemony of the RPCR over local political life and DECA, led by mayor of Koumac Robert Frouin, who presented the text as a "deceit" and a "Spanish farm where everyone finds what he wants to find", highlighting the differences of interpretation between the interpretations of RPCR and FLNKS.
  • on the right, RPCR members opposed to autonomy, local section of the National Front (FN) such as Guy George ("I urge you to refuse abandonment and vote no") and Claude Sarran's Movement for France (MPF) ( announcing a "collusion agreement" between "the socialist government to get rid of New Caledonia, the RPCR to extend its political-financial hegemony through transfers of powers and the FLNKS to satisfy its desire for independence"), as well as former RPCR Dick Ukeiwé,
  • on the left of the FLNKS, à la gauche du FLNKS, Louis Kotra Uregi's Union syndicale des travailleurs kanaks et des exploités (USTKE) who wanted immediate independence.


Results of referendum

  Yes (71.86%)
  No (28.14%)

Approuvez-vous l'Accord sur la Nouvelle-Calédonie signé à Nouméa le 5 ? "Do you approve of the New Caledonia Agreement signed in Noumea on May 5, 1998 ? "

The referendum question
Options Number % of registered % of voters % of cast ballots
Yes 55,400 51.92 69.95 71.86
No 21,697 20.33 27.39 28.14
Votes cast 77,097 72.26 97.34 100.00
Blank or spoiled votes 2,105 1.97 2.66
Total number of voters 79,202 74.23 100.00
Abstentions 27,496 25.77
Registered 106,698 100.00

Source : Décision du 9 novembre 1998 proclamant les résultats de la consultation des populations de la Nouvelle-Calédonie du dimanche 8 novembre 1998

See also


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