18 Feb 2011

New Caledonian government falls amid flag spat

8:04 am on 18 February 2011

New Caledonia's collegial government has fallen amid a prolonged spat over the territory's flag.

The pro-independence Caledonian Union pulled out of the administration, triggering automatically the end of the two-year old government of Philippe Gomes.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The government's fall comes amid a dispute over some town halls refusing to hoist both the French and the Kanak flag, which is now part of the so-called roadmap agreed to by the signatories of the Noumea Accord. Mr Gomes, however, says the Noumea Accord provides for a new flag to be chosen to express the territory's identity. The collapse of the government means that the territory's Congress will have to choose a new collegial government in two weeks, whose make-up is to reflect the relative size of the political parties in the three provincial assemblies. Mr Gomes has likened the move by his rivals to oust him as a coup attempt and says fresh general elections should be held."