Politics of New Caledonia

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

New Caledonia is a French sui generis collectivity with a system of government based on parliamentarism and representative democracy. The President of the Government is the head of government, and there is a multi-party system, with Executive power being exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Congress of New Caledonia. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Political developments

Article 77 of the Constitution of France and the Organic Law 99-209 confers a unique status of New Caledonia between that of an independent country and a regular collectivité d'outre-mer or overseas collectivité of France. A territorial congress and government have been established, and the 1998 Nouméa Accord organized a devolution of powers. Key areas such as taxation, labor law, health and hygiene and foreign trade are already in the hands of the Congress. Further powers will supposedly be given to the Congress in the near future.

Under article 4 of the Organic Law 99-209 a New Caledonian "citizenship" has also been introduced: only New Caledonian "citizens" (defined by article 188) have the right to vote in the local elections. This measure has been criticized, because it creates a second-class status for French citizens living in New Caledonia who do not possess New Caledonian "citizenship" (because they settled in the territory recently). New Caledonia is also allowed to engage in international cooperation with independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. Finally, the territorial Congress is allowed to pass statutes that are contrary to French law in a certain number of areas.

On the other hand, New Caledonia remains an integral part of the French Republic. Inhabitants of New Caledonia are French citizens and carry French passports. They take part in the legislative and presidential French elections. New Caledonia sends two representatives to the French National Assembly and two senators to the French Senate. The representative of the French central state in New Caledonia is the High Commissioner of the Republic (Haut-Commissaire de la République, locally known as "haussaire"), who is the head of civil services, and who sits in the government of the territory.

The Nouméa Accord stipulates that the Congress will have the right to call for a referendum on independence after 2014, at a time of its choosing.

The current president of the government elected by the Congress is Philippe Germain, from the loyalist (i.e. anti-independence) Caledonia Together political party.

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
High Commissioner Vincent Bouvier July 2014
President of the Government Philippe Germain TE 1 April 2015

The high commissioner is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior. The president of the government is elected by the members of the Territorial Congress.

Legislative branch

The Congress (Congrès) has 54 members, being the members of the three regional councils, all elected for a five-year term by proportional representation. Furthermore, there is a 16-member Kanak Customary Senate (two members from each of the eight customary aires).

Political parties and elections

For other political parties, see List of political parties in New Caledonia. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in New Caledonia.
 Summary of the 11 May 2014
Territorial Congress of New Caledonia election results
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Caledonia Together24,86323.3113+8
The Rally–UMP (Front for Unity)13,64912.797–6
Caledonian UnionFLINKS13,60212.759
Union for Caledonia in France12,53911.756New
Build Our Rainbow Nation12,28911.526New
National Union for Independence8,8768.326
Labour Party3,6783.451–2
National Front2,7062.5400
One Province for All (in coalition with Caledonia Together)2,5612.402New
North Province Agreement (in coalition with Front for Unity)2,1912.051New
Convergence Country2,1902.050New
Party of Kanak Liberation2,0531.921
Aboriginal Dynamic1,566 1.471New
Union for Building the Loyalty Islands1,5641.471New
The Other Voice9390.880New
Invalid/blank votes1,410
Registered voters/turnout152,45769.95
Source: New Caledonia Government

French National Assembly

  • Sonia Lagarde (first constituency, Caledonia Together, CE) elected 2012
  • Philippe Gomès (second constituency, Caledonia Together, CE) elected 2012

French Senate

  • Pierre Frogier (Rassemblement-UMP), elected 2011
  • Hilarion Tumi Vendégou (Rassemblement-UMP), elected 2011

Judicial branch

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court

Administrative divisions

New Caledonia is divided into three provinces: Province des Îles, Province Nord, and Province Sud - which are further subdivided into 33 communes.

International organization participation


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