29 Jun 2004

New Caledonian government elects president

10:43 am on 29 June 2004

New Caledonia's ministers have elected two women to lead the territory.

Marie-Noelle Themereau, of the Future Together party, has been elected president of the territorial government and the pro-independence candidate, Dewe Gorodey, has been returned as vice president.

The result matches that of the first attempt to appoint a leader after territorial elections in May.

Mrs Themereau got eight out of 11 votes in the election for president while Mrs Gorodey won nine out of 11 votes in the election for vice-president.

Last week, the 11-member government failed to decide between Pierre Frogier of the UMP and Mrs Themereau.

An earlier election of the two women only stood for a few hours because the UMP ministers resigned, bringing down the entire government in line with the provisions of the Noumea Accord.

The government, whose officials are selected by a 54-seat elected congress, is made up of four UMP members, four from Future Together and three from pro-independence Kanak parties.