16 Mar 2007

Dominant New Caledonian party may face top level rift

4:42 pm on 16 March 2007

Two top leaders of New Caledonia's dominant Future Together Party are tipped to stand against each other in the French parliamentary election in what may lead to a rift within the party.

The minister in charge of the economy, Didier Leroux, is set to contest one of the territory's two seats in the French assembly as the Future Together Party is about to confirm as its candidate the president of the southern province, Philippe Gomes.

The newspaper, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, reports that while a primary election is to be held at the end of the month, Mr Leroux may stand in defiance of the party which has risen to lead the anti-independence camp.

In the other New Caledonian constituency, the Future Together Party, is set to support the candidacy of Harold Martin who is the party president.

The two seats in Paris are being held by members elected under the banner of the anti-independence RPCR Party.