23 Jun 2004

New Caledonia to make new bid to elect government

3:38 pm on 23 June 2004

New Caledonia's Congress will make a fresh attempt tomorrow to elect a new eleven-member government.

Two weeks ago, the Congress elected Marie-Noelle Themereau president and Dewe Gorodey as her deputy but within hours of the vote, three ministers resigned to bring down the new administration.

The three ministers from the anti-independence Rassemblement took the action after a fourth member of the party had voided her ballot paper amid claims of attempted corruption by Mrs Themereau's Future Together party.

The incident has led to legal action for alleged defamation.

If the two parties fail to co-operate on procedural matters tomorrow, there is a risk that French state may intervene and call fresh general elections.