6 Aug 2013

Three candidates line up for New Caledonia presidency

1:28 pm on 6 August 2013

New Caledonia is gearing up for Thursday's annual election of a new Congress president, with three candidates confirmed to contest the post.

The incumbent, Gerard Poadja, backed by the anti-independence Caledonia Together party is being challenged by a former member of the French senate, Simon Loueckhote, who has the support of the rival anti-independence parties.

Observers say the two may split the anti-independence camp to clear the way for a leading pro-independence politician, Roch Wamytan, who was the Congress president until last year.

None of the candidates is expected to secure a majority and as none has signalled that he is prepared to quit after two rounds, the candidate with the most votes in the third round will be declared the winner.