11 Apr 2011

French supreme court rejects complaint over process to elect New Caledonian president

5:32 am on 11 April 2011

The French supreme court has rejected a complaint by a former New Caledonian president, Philippe Gomes, challenging the process of electing his successor.

The ruling comes amid an unprecedented political crisis, which has prompted the French overseas territories minister to visit Noumea on Thursday in a bid to negotiate a return to the smooth running of government.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The court in Paris found that on March the 3rd, the new collegial government was entitled to elect a president and a vice-president although the Caledonia Together Party of Mr Gomes had resigned from the government only minutes after it was formed. Two more governments have collapsed equally quickly since amid a dispute over which flag the territory should use. The Congress has also decided to defer any further government elections in apparent defiance of the electoral law which sets out that a new attempt is due this week. The overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, will meet the territory's political leaders this week in a bid to heal the rifts and encourage the strict adherence to the Noumea Accord which charts the decolonisation process."