19 Jul 2014

French HC to New Caledonia quits - report

4:49 pm on 19 July 2014

Reports from New Caledonia say the French high commissioner, Jean-Jacques Brot, has tendered his resignation, causing consternation in political circles as it coincides with a ministerial visit.

There is no official statement but his decision has been announced on the facebook page of Simon Loueckhote, who was the territory's long-serving member of the French senate.

Mr Loueckhote has now told local radio that Mr Brot said he was no stooge and quit his post.

This comes just hours after the French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, addressed New Caledonia's Congress, highlighting the challenges of the decolonisation process under the Noumea Accord.

Observers are stunned by the timing as the minister's visit won't end until Sunday.

In 2007, the then French high commissioner, Michel Mathieu, resigned after disagreeing with a visiting minister, Christian Estrosi, on how to deal with a union rally and social unrest in general.