19 Jan 2009

Kanak woman to lead Rassemblement/UMP list in New Caledonia's north

11:28 am on 19 January 2009

New Caledonia's anti-independence Rassemblement/UMP party has chosen a Kanak woman to be its top candidate in the May provincial election in the northern province.

The party leader, Pierre Frogier, has told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper that choosing Leontine Ponga to lead the list is a step in the party's renewal.

New Caledonia will hold general elections for the three provincial assemblies from which 54 members will be drawn to form the territorial congress.

Last year, Mr Frogier said the pro-independence FLNKS movement wasn't the only party to represent the Kanak people.

The Rassemblement/UMP was the dominant force in the anti-independence camp until it started splintering in the lead-up to the last election five years ago.