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Getting to ‘Oui’ in the Nouméa Accord’s Final Status Talks
Behind a façade of stability, New Caledonian politics is shifting away from its long-established bipolar structure. While there is no chance the deep schism between supporters and opponents of independence from France will suddenly dissolve, it is being gradually eroded by ongoing cultural and political trends. Even if glacially slow, this change is becoming increasingly noticeable. Observers of New Caledonian politics have a similar tendency to assume, that its current two-bloc structure is an unshakeable law of nature and that no solution to the country’s five-decade independence struggle is in sight, much as people once thought the Berlin Wall insurmountable. But behind the illusion of a static and eternal order, New Caledonia is entering warning time of a potential strategic shock. This paper argues that, in part because bipolar politics is fraying under intensifying centrifugal pressure, a new grand bargain is likely by 2024.