27 May 2015

New Caledonia staffing row goes to court

1:03 pm on 27 May 2015

Three New Caledonian government ministers have taken the president, Philippe Germain, to court in Noumea in a bid to retain their assistants after he had them sacked.

They claim that without support staff they cannot do their jobs properly, which also goes against the public interest.

Mr Germain decided to dismiss their assistants after he was elected to the top post at the beginning of April.

The incident is linked to ongoing deep rifts within the territory's anti-independence camp.

In April, Mr Germain was chosen thanks to the support of pro-independence ministers within the collegial government, thereby defeating the other contender for the top job, Cynthia Ligeard.

Mr Germain has described the three ministers, including Mrs Ligeard, as opposition members after they failed to endorse his candidacy.

The government is made up of 11 ministers in proportion to the strength of their parties in the Congress.

The anti-independence side formed a united front after the election a year ago, but the power-sharing deal ended when Mr Germain's party pulled out in December and triggered the government's collapse.