21 May 2004

Harold Martin is new head of New Caledonia's Congress

4:20 pm on 21 May 2004

A member of New Caledonia's Future Together party has been elected the president of the territorial Congress following provincial elections nearly two weeks ago.

Harold Martin was chosen by 28 of the 54 members in today's vote defeating the Congress's eldest member, Noumea mayor Jean Leques who won 17 votes.

Mr Martin is a former member of the Rassemblement which lost its dominance in the key southern province to the Future Together party.

In his inaugural speech, Mr Martin said he hoped New Caledonia's Congress would be a place for consensus and dialogue, adding that all New Caledonians have a common destiny.

He said he would never be on the side of those who could be tempted to use the forum for their own political bickering.