13 Mar 2013

New Caledonia's Yanno poised to form new party

2:42 pm on 13 March 2013

The split within New Caledonia's once dominant anti-independence party is set to lead to the formation of a new party.

This comes after last month's decision by the leader of the Rassemblement-UMP, Pierre Frogier, to suspend his deputy, Gael Yanno, and the party's acting secretary general, Sonia Backes, who is also the territorial government's official spokesperson.

Noumea's daily newspaper says Mr Yanno now wants to create his own party.

The Rassemblement-UMP is the successor party to the RPCR, which signed the 1998 Noumea Accord.

In the lead-up to the 2004 election, it suffered a major setback, which was repeated in the last election, and last year it lost the territory's two seats in the French National Assembly to the rival anti-independence Caledonia Together Party.

One of the seats had been held by Mr Yanno.

Repeated French attempts to reunite the increasingly fractured anti-independence camp have been unsuccessful.