18 Jul 2015

New Caledonia's loyalists regroup in Congress

3:47 pm on 18 July 2015

Anti independence political groups have reformed in the New Caledonian Congress after the break up of the Union for Caledonia within France or UCF.

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Photo: RNZ

Former members of the UCF Sonia Backes and Isabelle Lafleur have joined the Republicans formed out of the ex Rassemblement-UMP grouping.

On Wednesday another UCF member Nicole Robineau announced she was joining the centre right Caledonia Together party.

Three remaining UCF members now sit as independents.

The Republicans formed following calls for an end to the disputes between the various anti-independence factions which had fragmented the loyalist camp and left the territory without a president for nearly three months.

New Caledonia's anti-independence parties hold the majority in Congress winning 59 percent of the seats in last year's election.

In March a former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a renewed focus on collegiality in the running of the territory, urging in particular the anti-independence camp seek a consensus.

The Congress has the task of organising a referendum on self-determination by 2018 or France will step in to arrange such a vote in line with the 1998 Noumea Accord.