9 Mar 2004

Rival anti-independence politicians join forces against New Caledonia's ruling RPCR party

1:17 pm on 9 March 2004

New Caledonia's Alliance party has teamed up with a dissident of the main political party, the RPCR, to contest the May territorial election.

The Alliance president, Didier Leroux, says he and Harold Martin are opposed to the policies of the RPCR and want to turn a page in their past rivalry within the anti-independence camp and come up with different politics for the territory.

They say the five years since the Noumea accord on greater autonomy was put into effect have been wasted and key points of the document have not been put into effect.

They told the news agency AFP that the signs of the territory's identity have not been developed and labour laws to protect local employment have not been put in place.

Mr Martin says he doesn't approve the way institutions are run and things need to be changed before it is too late.

The two politicians have also asked for a meeting with the French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin, who is due in Noumea on Thursday for a three-day visit.