29 Jun 2004

New Caledonian government elects woman president

11:06 am on 29 June 2004

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

The result makes the French Pacific territory the first in the Pacific Islands region to elect women to the top two roles in government.

Marie-Noelle Themereau, of the 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 six out of 11 votes, and Mrs Gorodey got nine out of 11.

The 11-member government failed last week, to decide between Pierre Frogier of the UMP and Mrs Themereau.

The government, whose officials 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.