15 May 2014

New Caledonia power deal expected

1:38 pm on 15 May 2014

New Caledonia's three anti-independence parties are expected to reach an agreement today on who they will vote in as the president of the southern province when the newly elected assembly meets tomorrow.

There is speculation that the most successful party, the Caledonia Together, will put forward Philippe Michel for the post, with the other two parties getting the leadership of the Congress and the territorial government.

The pro-independence side is expected to decide today whether it will seek to annul last Sunday's provincial election because of irregular rolls.

It claims that hundreds of people took part although they failed to meet the criteria set out in the Noumea Accord which restricts voting rights to long-term residents.

It says their number is such that it could have skewed the result.

The concerns have been litigated for weeks and been taken to France's highest court but a ruling is not due until later in the year.

In 2009, the election in the Loyalty Islands province was repeated after five months because of a successful complaint about improperly cast proxy votes.