8 May 2009

New Caledonian president calls for stability pact to thwart pro-independence side

2:45 pm on 8 May 2009

The New Caledonian president has called for unity among anti-independence parties as campaigning ahead of Sunday's provincial elections is about to end.

Harold Martin has told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes that the three main parties opposed to independence from France should form a pact to guarantee institutional stability.

This, he says, is to prevent the possible rise of a unified pro-independence side that could get close to forming a majority in the next 54-member congress.

Mr Martin says they should aim for stability as to prevent a situation to develop akin to the one in Tahiti where there have been four governments since last year's early general elections.

He has also called for a new roadmap acceptable to all New Caledonians which should be developed under the auspices of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is due in Noumea in late July.

Sunday's vote will be for three provincial assemblies that in turn will determine the makeup of the territorial congress charged with electing a new president.