24 Apr 2008

Movement of Diversity Party in New Caledonia wants a more modern link with Paris

11:30 am on 24 April 2008

The leader of the newly formed Movement of Diversity Party in New Caledonia says he wants to set up a more modern link with Paris.

Simon Loueckhote has told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper that his party is against independence from France and wants to move beyond the relationship set out in the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

Mr Loueckhote, who has been an ally of the veteran politician Jacques Lafleur, says it is not the territory's left that keeps pushing for change but France's ruling UMP Party.

He says the UMP is pushing for a freeze of the electorate, it is seeking to transfer power to the administration in Noumea and it wants to curb the pensions of retirees in the public sector.

Mr Loueckhote says for the new leaders in Paris, the overseas territories are light years away from their concerns while France no longer has the means to support these territories.

He says details of his programme will be revealed when his Movement of Diversity holds its inaugural congress on June the 14th.