8 Dec 2010

Penchard to represent French government at Lafleur burial in Noumea

4:02 pm on 8 December 2010

The French government will send the overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, to Friday's funeral of New Caledonia's veteran leader, Jacques Lafleur.

Mr Lafleur, who was the territory's most influential politician of the past three decades, died in Australia last Saturday aged 78.

He had also been a member of the French assembly for 29 years until 2007.

Yesterday, it observed a minute's silence in his honour.

The public will be given an opportunity tomorrow to pay its last respect to Mr Lafleur ahead of Friday's funeral.

Private businesses and the public administration have been encouraged to allow employees to attend the burial service.