3 Mar 2011

New Caledonia's Congress to elect a new collegial govt today

6:23 am on 3 March 2011

New Caledonia's Congress is today due to elect a new collegial government after the administration led by Philippe Gomes collapsed two weeks ago.

The pro-independence Caledonian Union had pulled out of his government amid a dispute over what flag the territory should choose as part of its decolonisation process.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Philippe Gomes says the flag issue was a ploy to remove him from the top post. And he says the informal alliance on the matter between the Caledonian Union and the anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP was never approved by the voters. He says he wants fresh general elections three years early but the French overseas territories minister Marie-Luce Penchard, who visited Noumea this week, told local radio there is no need for early polls. Mr Gomes, however, is adamant that he will bring down the government the moment it is formed today as he wants to prompt Paris to call fresh provincial elections."