14 Apr 2011

Palika leader open to early New Caledonia elections

7:07 pm on 14 April 2011

The president of New Caledonia's northern province and leader of the pro-independence Palika party says a fresh general election could be a legal and democratic solution to end the current political deadlock.

Four collegial governments have collapsed in the past two months while a new coalition within the Congress has decided to put off any scheduled government election to avoid further resignations by the Caledonia Together Party.

Paul Neaoutyine made the comment shortly before the French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, was due in Noumea for broad talks on the unprecedented political crisis.

The new alliance opposed to Caledonia Together wants Paris to amend the basic law but Mr Neaoutyine says he is opposed to it being tampered with.

He has also denounced the election of a new Congress president as an illegal move and deplored that the choice of New Caledonia's flag has been used for political ends.