22 May 2009

Harold Martin becomes Speaker for the third time in New Caledonia

1:34 pm on 22 May 2009

New Caledonia's former President Harold Martin, has been elected as the new Speaker of the French territory's Congress, winning 31 of the 54 votes.

The news service Oceania Flash reports that Mr Martin's elections seems to confirm that all anti-independence parties have joined votes as part of what has been referred to in past days as a pact of stability to secure power for the anti-independence camp.

The pro-independence FLNKS had put forward its former head, Roch Wamytan, who got 20 of the 54 votes.

However, the newly-formed Labour party, which claims to present an alternative to the other pro-independence parties, had decided to go it alone and present a newcomer, MP Rose Walalimoua

She only secured three Labour votes.

Mr Martin, who has been heading New Caledonia's government, has been a Speaker of the Congress twice before.

He replaces Pierre Frogier, who was last week elected President of the legislative assembly of the Southern Province.