1 Apr 2011

New Caledonia government collapses for third time in a month

4:13 pm on 1 April 2011

The anti-independence Caledonia Together Party, led by Philippe Gomes, has brought down New Caledonia's collegial government for a third time in a month.

In an extraordinary session of the Congress, the party again withdrew from the administration the moment it was elected.

Under the electoral system, a single minister's resignation automatically triggers a fresh election within the Congress which has to be performed within two weeks.

This means that the caretaker administration of Harold Martin will continue in office.

In February, the pro-independence Caledonian Union quit the two-year old administration led by Mr Gomes allegedly over the choice of flag.

Meanwhile, the Congress is today also due to elect a new Congress president to replace Mr Martin.

The Caledonia Together Party says it will boycott the session because it is illegal.

The anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP says it will support a pro-independence candidate, which observers say could lead to the election of the veteran pro-independence politician, Roch Wamytan.