3 Jul 2004

New Caledonia's ministers handed portfolios

7:25 am on 3 July 2004

New Caledonia's newly-formed 11-member government has allotted ministerial portfolios.

The changes make put the territory's first woman President, Marie-Noelle Themereau, in charge of social affairs.

The pro-independence, Vice-President Dewe Gorodey, stays in charge of cultural affairs and takes over women's affairs and citizenship.

Mrs Gorodey says she'll work towards making citizenship a reality, bearing in mind that at the end of the period covered by the Noumea Accord, a referendum will ask voters to choose between "citizenship" and "nationality".

Didier Leroux of the Future Together party's in charge of the key mining portfolio.

Mr Leroux's told local media his main goal's to develop the economy with the nickel industry as its major booster.

New Caledonia holds about a quarter of the world's nickel reserves.