25 Feb 2011

New Caledonia Congress to decide government size

10:55 am on 25 February 2011

New Caledonia's Congress is today due to meet, to determine the size of the next government following last week's collapse of the administration of Philippe Gomes.

The Congress will have to decide the size of the next executive, which is to have at least five, but no more than 11 ministers.

The election of the next government will then be held on March the 3rd.

The last government fell last week after the three pro-independence ministers resigned amid a prolonged dispute over the choice of New Caledonian flag.

Mr Gomes has warned that his side will immediately resign when the new collegial government is formed next week.

He says the manouvering over the flag issue by the pro-independence side and the anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP, was only a ploy to oust him from power.

Mr Gomes says as this amounts to a decision made behind the voters' back, he wants to block the institution and force Paris to call fresh general elections three years early.