New Caledonian riots pose significant challenge to Macron's presidency - The Sunday Times

World Materials 27 May 2024 11:49 (UTC +04:00)
Ingilab Mammadov
Ingilab Mammadov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 27. The riots in New Caledonia have become one of the most challenging crises of Macron's presidency, Correspondent at large for The Sunday Times Matthew Campbell said, Trend reports.

According to Campbell, France's violent colonial history strongly influences its current politics.

The article's author emphasizes Paris's search for a scapegoat for the failure of its policies, which triggered widespread protests in New Caledonia.

"France has accused external forces of exploiting old colonial grievances to fuel unrest in a territory spanning 140 islands and inhabited by 270,000 people," the author notes, mentioning Paris's claims of identifying social media posts with the hashtag EndFrenchColonialism, allegedly originating from users in Azerbaijan.

Referring to a French diplomatic source, Campbell highlights the significant importance of the overseas territory to Paris.

"New Caledonia boasts a quarter of the world's nickel reserves, crucial for battery production in hybrid cars as well as in coins, armor, and turbine blades," the article states.

The correspondent remarks on the recent visit of the French president to New Caledonia, noting that before departing 12 hours after meetings with both French loyalists and pro-independence supporters, Macron consented to delay voting reform that would grant recent arrivals the right to vote.

“The anticipated reform scheduled for a special session of the French Congress in Versailles in the coming days sparked the protests.

Kanaks, constituting 40 percent of the population and eligible to vote in French and European elections, feared that extending voting rights to immigrants would dilute the voting influence of natives and pose obstacles on the path to independence,” he says.

Approaching the conflict from a historical perspective, Campbell emphasized that the roots of the conflict go deep. In the early 19th century, he said, the area attracted only whalers and slave traders, and local Kanaks were kidnapped or captured.

“Presently, the territory faces deeper divisions than ever before, with the Kanaks advocating for a second vote in pursuit of secession from France, while the Caldoche (French-speaking people of European descent) desire to maintain ties with France,” the article also said.

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