25 Aug 2006

New Caledonia chooses new customary senate president

3:09 pm on 25 August 2006

New Caledonia's customary Kanak senate has appointed a new president.

He is Jean-Guy Mboueri and is to replace Gabriel Paita who had been chosen for a six-year term last year.

Mr Mboueri was selected by the eight so-called nations making up New Caledonia's indigenous population in a meeting yesterday.

Mr Paita, who was not present at the meeting, has challenged the move to replace him.

He says he is the only authority to call a meeting and therefore yesterday's choice is not valid.

The customary senate was created as part of the 1998 Noumea accord on greater autonomy.

It deals with indigenous rights and land issues.