7 Jun 2011

Tension persists ahead of New Caledonia election

7:00 pm on 7 June 2011

The leader of New Caledonia's Caledonia Together Party has warned that it may again resign from the collegial government if there is no agreed distribution of portfolios after this Friday's election of a new administration.

Philippe Gomes issued the warning at a news conference, saying the crisis is not over despite talks on the matter in Paris last month.

His party resigned three times within a month this year, triggering fresh elections each time because a single minister's resignation automatically ends the government's mandate.

After the last government collapse, the Congress refused to reschedule a fresh election within two weeks as provided for in the electoral law.

Instead, Paris has begun work on a law change to give any new government an 18-month grace period but that law is still several weeks away.

Mr Gomes says if his party won't get its fair share, it will be forced to resign again.