29 Jun 2004

New Caledonia chooses women president and vice president

2:51 pm on 29 June 2004

New Caledonia's ministers have elected two women to lead the territory.

Marie-Noelle Themereau, of the anti-independence Future Together party, has been elected president of the territorial government and the pro-independence candidate, Dewe Gorodey, has been returned as vice president.

The result matches that of the first attempt to appoint a leader after territorial elections in May.

Mrs Themereau got eight out of 11 votes in the election for president while Mrs Gorodey won nine out of 11 votes in the election for vice-president.

The government, whose members are selected by a 54-seat elected congress, is made up of four UMP members, four from Future Together and three from pro-independence Kanak parties.

Mrs Themereau told Radio New Caledonia that politicians have found a solution.

"It's a message of hope, everything becomes possible again. And therefore it's a message of confidence because the political forces - in a political landscape totally changed from what we have known for the past 20 years - have known how to meet again to unite, to regroup and to find solutions."