14 Jun 2019

Rift among New Caledonia loyalists blocks government

1:55 pm on 14 June 2019

One of the pro-independence candidates for New Caledonia's presidency says the instability within the rival anti-independence bloc is the cause for the new government deadlock.

The New Caledonia pro-independence politician, Jean-Pierre Djaiwe.

Jean-Pierre Djaiwe Photo: AFP

Jean-Pierre Djaiwe, was one of three candidates in yesterday's presidential election, in which none won a majority.

Mr Djaiwe said with six seats in the 11-member collegial government, the anti-independence parties have a majority to elect a president.

Five ministers voted for the anti-independence Future with Confidence candidate Thierry Santa, but the remaining anti-independence member Philippe Germain of Caledonia Together abstained.

He explained his abstention by pointing to Future with Confidence's refusal to cede any positions in the southern province to his party, adding that they should now work on finding a consensus with the pro-independence parties.

Future with Confidence became the biggest party in last month's elections after a campaign aimed at retaining the anti-independence side's majority.

The failure to elect a president means the new government is not operational and the old government remains in a caretaker position.

The old government was led by Mr Germain, who announced his resignation from politics two months ago but who will also be in the new 11-member government chosen by Congress this week.

After the elections five years ago, a similar deadlock ended after months of negotiations with the pro-independence minority siding with Caledonia Together to elect Mr Germain as president.

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