28 Mar 2011

11 members for next New Caledonia collegial government

8:57 am on 28 March 2011

The New Caledonian Congress has fixed the number of ministers for the next collegial government at 11 ahead of a Congress meeting on Thursday to elect a new executive - the third such attempt in a month.

The election has been called after three administrations failed since last month amid a protracted dispute over what flag should be chosen to express the territorys identity.

The Caledonia Together Party, which triggered the last two government collapses amid a call for early general elections, is expected to have one of its members quit again to advance its cause.

The leader of the rival anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP, Pierre Frogier, has lashed out at the Caledonia Together leader, Philippe Gomes, telling him in the Congress that he has had enough of his blackmail, obstructions and lies.

Mr Frogier welcomed the first government collapse last month when pro-independence ministers quit in what Mr Gomes labelled an unnatural alliance aimed at getting at him.