3 Mar 2011

New Caledonia's new government collapses

7:36 pm on 3 March 2011

The New Caledonian Congress has elected a new collegial government which collapsed within minutes of being formed.

The Congress elected 11 members of the executive in proportion to the strength of the parties in the legislative body.

During a recess in the election process, the French high commissioner, Albert Dupuy, convened the 11 members for a meeting during which one of them, Philippe Dunoyer, resigned.

This has automatically triggered the government's collapse and fresh elections will have to be held in the Congress in two weeks.

Despite the resignation, the executive has moved to elect the president of the Congress, Harold Martin, as the new president.

This means that Mr Martin is now the caretaker president, replacing Philippe Gomes whose administration was ousted two weeks ago.

The Congress is also due to meet to choose a new President because Mr Martin cannot be at the helm of both the government and the legislature.

Mr Gomes says he hopes the current situation will block the functioning of the government quickly to convince Paris that fresh general elections be called.