19 Jul 2010

Squabbling among pro French parties in New Caledonia continues

4:38 pm on 19 July 2010

The narrow re-election of Harold Martin as the Speaker of New Caledonia's Congress has revealed continuing deep tensions among some of the territory's political parties.

After a vote that required three rounds, Mr Martin from the pro-French party The Future Together received 20 of the 54 votes, while the only other contender, Caroline Machoro who is from the pro-independence camp, received 17.

Another 17 MPs cast blank votes, including those from Caledonia Together, the party headed by New Caledonia's President, Philippe Gomes.

Our correspondent says Mr Gomes' decision not to support Mr Martin's appointment could lead to him being dumped from the presidency.