14 Feb 2011

New Caledonia coalition under threat

7:27 pm on 14 February 2011

One of the coalition partners of New Caledonia's multi-party government, the Caledonian Union, has announced that it plans to pull out of the territory's executive.

The Caledonian Union, one of the major components of the pro-independence umbrella grouping, the FLNKS, held its congress at the weekend.

If it does pull out of the executive it would bring down the cabinet.

The Union's leader, Charles Pidjot, said the move was motivated by the failure of the present government to fully implemented a double flag, which would be the French national flag with the FLNKS flag as its emblem.

The Union holds three portfolios in the eleven-seat executive.

The President, Philippe Gomes, said the Union move was motivated by an agreement with another pro-French party, the Rassemblement-UMP, to topple his government.

Since the double flag initiative was endorsed last year by New Caledonia's Congress, Mr Gomes has maintained his opposition saying it did not solve New Caledonia's long-term identity issues.