5 Jun 2009

Gomes elected New Caledonia president for 5-year term

3:08 pm on 5 June 2009

The New Caledonian Congress has elected Philippe Gomes as the new President for a five-year term to replace Harold Martin.

Mr Gomes is the leader of the anti-independence Caledonia Together Party and until last month's elections he was the president of the southern province.

Under the provisions of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, ministries will be distributed in proportion to the representation of the political parties in the 54-member Congress.

This will give the pro-independence camp four of the executive's 11 posts.

The allocation of portfolios is yet to be done.

This year's provincial elections polls were marked by unprecedented splits among anti-independence parties but a post-election accord was struck with the encouragement of Paris which has seen Mr Martin become the Congress president and another senior politician, Pierre Frogier, assume the top post in the southern province.

The Noumea Accord calls for a possible referendum on independence after 2014 to complete the decolonisation process.