14 Feb 2014

Marie-Claude Tjibaou bids for mayoralty in New Caledonia capital

2:52 pm on 14 February 2014

The widow of New Caledonia's pro-independence leader, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, has lodged a bid to become the mayor of Noumea, standing on an open list.

Marie-Claude Tjibaou says she wants to stand in next month's municipal election because Noumea's cultural diversity is not reflected in the city.

She had been involved in culture and women's rights matters, and served as a municipal councillor in Hienghene for five years until 2000.

Her list includes members of a pro-independence party and civil society personalities, such as the head of the Human Rights League, Elie Poigoune.

Mr Poigoune says the traditional divisions shouldn't be continued where Kanaks are afraid of Europeans and Europeans are afraid of Kanaks.

The outgoing mayor, Jean Leques, has been at the helm of the city since 1986.

Marie-Claude Tjibaou is one of five candidates, with three of them representing right-wing anti-independence parties, which dominate Noumea.