4 Jul 2005

New Caledonia's UMP chooses Frogier as new leader

4:39 am on 4 July 2005

New Caledonia's Rassemblement-UMP Party has chosen Pierre Frogier as its new president, thwarting an attempt by its founder, Jacques Lafleur, to become his own successor.

Mr Frogier won more than three quarters of all votes at the first party congress that used a secret ballot to choose its leader.

The election was called after Mr Lafleur resigned from all political posts in New Caledonia but last month, he changed his mind and stood as candidate for his own succession.

He left the weekend meeting before Mr Frogier gave his acceptance speech, saying he found it bizarre to be show the door after he having served so long.

Mr Lafleur dominated the territory's politics for much of the past quarter of a century but his party lost power in last year's election.