New Caledonia: what is Emmanuel Macron’s state of mind before arriving on the archipelago?

Jacques Serais / Photo credits: LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP
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7:07 p.m., May 22, 2024

Emmanuel Macron is due to land in New Caledonia this Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. Paris time. On site for a one-day visit, the Head of State must launch a mission there. The president “wants to hear everyone and measure the situation on the spot”.

Regain control. This is Emmanuel Macron’s objective in New Caledonia. The president is due to land on the Pacific archipelago this Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. Paris time (8:30 a.m. local time), more than a week after the start of the riots which broke out on the sidelines of a reform on the electoral body. The head of state thinks that “going there will change things,” explains one of his close friends.

Emmanuel Macron must stay on the archipelago for one day only. And the outcome of the crisis remains uncertain, even in the mind of the head of state. “There are no scenarios written in advance,” insists those around him. The president “wants to hear everyone and measure the situation on the ground”, deciphers an advisor who continues: “It depends on the reactions and how it falls on the ground”.

Emmanuel Macron “is not doing all this to turn back”

To begin his trip, Emmanuel Macron first intends to respect a time of mourning for the people killed in recent days. This moment of “listening and consideration, for everyone”, is important, we say in substance on the side of the Élysée. Then, after having discussed with all elected officials, political leaders, representatives of the Kanaks and economic forces, the president wishes to define the path.

Whether or not to extend the state of emergency is one of the first points to be decided. Then comes the question of whether or not to postpone the Congress, scheduled for the end of June, supposed to validate the constitutional reform of the New Caledonian electorate. “He’s not doing all this to turn back the clock,” someone close to him wants to believe. The fact remains that Emmanuel Macron’s ambition is to be open to dialogue, and therefore to possible concessions.

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