Backes hits back amid New Caledonia political row

4:40 pm on 9 April 2019

The leader of the Caledonian Republicans, Sonia Backes, has hit back at criticism from the president of the southern province over his detention in an alleged corruption case.

Philippe Michel called a news conference after it became known that he had been one of five people interrogated over alleged phantom jobs at his administration to the benefit of his Caledonia Together party.

Mr Michel accused her of being behind it by lodging a defamatory complaint.

Ms Backes said it was unworthy of a provincial president to suggest the French judicial system could be used as a tool.

It was more necessary than ever to ensure the judiciary remained French, independent and not run by locals, she said.

Nobody could be happy about the latest affair as it fed the notion that all politicians were rotten, Ms Backes said.