29 Jun 2005

New Caledonia anti-independence leader says he doesnt expect to win party presidency

8:45 pm on 29 June 2005

New Caledonia's anti-independence leader Jacques Lafleur has admitted he doesn't expect to win a vote, when the party he founded 27 years ago meets to elect its new President.

However in an interview on local television, Mr Lafleur said he would remain a candidate for the UMP-Rassemblement presidency against Pierre Frogier.

In the past three years, 73-year-old Mr Lafleur has repeatedly announced his retirement from political life and then reneged on the announcements.

Last year, the party, which had dominated New Caledonia's political life for the past quarter of a century, suffered its first major loss.