New Caledonia's member of the French senate, Simon Loueckhote, says he will assume the leadership of the anti-independence RPC Party which had been founded by the territory's veteran politician, Jacques Lafleur.
Mr Louckhote told the local newspaper that he has accepted to be in charge of the provisional team leading the party until a meeting makes a final decision.
This comes as a rift deepens between the RPC and the Rassemblement-UMP Party which Mr Lafleur had also founded but whose presidency went to Pierre Frogier.
Mr Frogier was in Mr Lafleur's footsteps until last year's challenge.
The report says that according to the RPC some Rassemblement-UMP supporters are likely to switch their allegiance.