16 Sep 2011

Loueckhote pulls out of New Caledonia senate race

8:27 am on 16 September 2011

New Caledonia's member of the French Senate, Simon Loueckhote, says he won't seeking another term.

Mr Loueckhote has been the territory's senator for 19 years but failed earlier this year to get the endorsement of the local chapter of France's ruling UMP party.

He says he will devote his political career now to his mandate as a member of the assembly of the southern province.

At the end of next week, two senators will be chosen by an electoral body made up of the municipal delegates, the members of the three provincial assemblies and the two members of the French National Assembly.

The UMP-backed candidates will be Pierre Frogier and Hilarion Vendegou, who Mr Loueckhote said might have been picked amid considerations emanating from the French presidency.

He said earlier this year that by choosing Mr Vendegou, Mr Frogier will have someone at his side who will always do as he is told.