29 Jul 2013

New Caledonia's MPC holds inaugural Congress

1:28 pm on 29 July 2013

New Caledonia's recently formed MPC Party has held its inaugural Congress in a bid to foster a united stance for the territory to remain French as it nears a possible referendum on independence.

The party is the result of a split in March within the Rassemblement-UMP Party.

Its leader, Gael Yanno, who is a former member of the French National Assembly, says it has secured the support of France's opposition UMP Party, whose leader, Jean-Francois Cope, joined the Noumea gathering via video link.

Mr Yanno has told local television that his party envisages the decolonisation process which will see New Caledonia federated with France, similar to the state of Queensland being part of Australia.

He says he is of the view that key sovereign powers should stay with France.

Mr Yanno says should there be no consensus solution on the territory's institutional future, he would support a referendum for or against independence.

He says a majority of New Caledonians want to remain French.