New Caledonia to try again to choose vice-president

Another attempt is to be made in New Caledonia this morning to choose a vice-president which would clear the way to allot portfolios to the new government's 11 ministers.

Under the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, the vice-presidency is to go to a pro-independence politician but none has so far managed to secure a majority.

Walter Zweifel reports

"The impasse comes more than five weeks after the territorial elections, which determined the constitution of assemblies, provincial presidents, a territorial congress and then saw Philippe Gomes elected president for a five-year term. But unless the deadlock among the 11 nominated ministers is broken, there will be no vice president and no government. Last week, the seven anti-independence politicians in the administration abstained in the vote which left both of the pro-independence candidates short of the support needed to be elected. So far the anti-independence side has declined to be the arbiter in the rivalry within the pro-independence camp."

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