16 Jun 2004

New Caledonia waiting on new Government before key decisions can be taken

3:38 pm on 16 June 2004

Key political decisions in New Caledonia are on hold for another week while the territory's Congress waits to make its second attempt at electing a government.

The new Congress chose a government last week, following elections on May 3, but the Government collapsed within hours and is to be re-elected on June 24.

The collapse was caused by the withdrawal by three members of the Rassemblement-UMP party which would have left the administration in breach of the collegial Government requirements of the Noumea Accord.

The communications officer for the French High Commission in Noumea, Antoine Jeulain, says day-to-day technical decisions are still being made by the now-incomplete new government.

Mr Jeulain says important decisions cannot be taken until the new government is in charge on June the 24th.

"Ít's a tricky situation now because we can't deal with urgent questions the French state needs to deal with with the local government, such like the port security aggreement with the IMO for the moment. This needs for instance to be applied on the first of July and obviously not having a government taking such important decisions until the 24th of June is a bit complicated."

Antoine Jeulain.