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New Caledonia's informal four-party anti-independence coalition has collapsed.
This follows worsening rifts within the pro-French camp which in June last year had agreed to form a joint platform to prepare for this year's independence referendum.
They had pledged unity to work for a New Caledonia that stays with France and lives in peace.
The Rassemblement and the Popular Caledonian Movement have now officially quit the setup to form a new and separate faction within the territory's Congress.
This means there will now be three anti-independence factions in the legislature.
The split has occurred despite repeated calls by French leaders over the years for the anti-independence side to unite.
The decolonisation process leading up to the referendum in November was initiated 20 years ago by one party on either side.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS
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