New Caledonia's anti-independence camp is in disarray
New Caledonia's ruling anti-independence camp is in disarray after the collapse of the territorial government.
New Caledonia's ruling anti-independence camp is in disarray after this week's collapse of the territorial government just six months into its five-year term.
Talks are afoot to find a way out of the crisis.
I asked my colleague Walter Zweifel what prompted this turn of events.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: Well essentially, there was a disagreement in Congress over what sort of fiscal policy the territorial congress should adopt. One faction decided that it wanted to have some amendments, but another faction within the anti-independence coalition decided that it was going to resign. The fall of the government happens once a minister within the government resigns, and in this case the Caledonia Together faction decided to resign.
JAMIE TAHANA: Was this expected?
WZ: Yes and no. After the election in May the three anti-independence parties had trouble finding some sort of consensus and they drew up a plan under which they shared power within Congress, within government, and most importantly within the Noumea area, which is the Southern province's capital. Now, the three people who led these factions did not get along very well, this is a long-running rivalry and somehow it only lasted six months for this agreement to burst open and collapse.
JT: So what's going to happen next?
WZ: The congress has to meet again to elect and new government, it has to see who these parties will nominate, Cynthia Ligeard, who was the president in this past government will probably not be nominated again, it's difficult to see who they will nominate in her place. It's not quite clear who the other candidates will be, one person that is being mentioned in Philippe Gomez, who is the leader of the Caledonia Together party and widely considered to be the most influential politician in New Caledonia. What speaks against his possible nomination is that he is representing New Caledonia in the French National Assembly and there is some pressure that he should not have two key positions; i.e. one in New Caledonia and another one in Paris. The election date for a new government is tentatively the 31st of December.
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