The president of New Caledonia's southern province, Pierre Frogier, has announced his resignation from the executive to focus on rebuilding his Rassemblement-UMP.
Mr Frogier's move comes after the party's electoral set-back in June when it lost both seats in the French National Assembly to the rival anti-independence Caledonia Together party.
Local radio says Sonia Backes will be the party's secretary general preparing the party congress in October.
The party has also announced that it will no longer back the pro-independence politician, Roch Wamytan, who is seeking to be re-elected as the president of the territorial Congress next week.
It says it will endorse Simon Loueckhote, who was the territory's member of the French Senate for 19 years but who pulled out of the race after the UMP withdrew its support for him last year.
New Caledonia then elected Mr Frogier to the senate.