ANTI-INDEPENDENCE PARTY PICKS UP KEY MINISTRY POSTS IN NEW CALEDONIA

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (June 8, 1999 - Radio Australia)---New Caledonia's main anti-independence party has picked up most of the major ministerial jobs in the first government set up under the French Pacific territory's newly devolved status.

The Rally for Caledonia in the Republic, or RPCR, obtained six major portfolios including economics, labor and education.

The pro-independence Kanak National Socialist Liberation Front took four ministries including health and culture.

In the May elections, the RPCR retained its position as the largest party in New Caledonia's congress but failed to gain an overall majority.

The elections followed a vote by the French parliament to give the Pacific territory powers of self-government, leading to a "gradual" transfer of authority to the local authorities.

 

NEW CALEDONIA'S GOVERNMENT HOLDS FIRST MEETING

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (June 7, 1999 - PINA News On line) - New Caledonia's new government has created of series of first moves---they held their first meeting of their first-ever government on Friday and ruled on the first steps to organize itself, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles CalÚdoniennes reports.

One week after the New Caledonia's congress elected the first local government in this French Territory, the new executives met under the chairmanship of New Caledonia's President Jean Leques.

However, the congress could not sit in the permanent headquarters, as they're still under renovation.

The agenda focused on approving the operating budget for this year including salaries and financial responsibilities for the ministers.

The government decided to pay homage to Melanesian Kanaks who fought for the French army during both first and second world wars.

Their names will be engraved on a plaque to be affixed on the War Memorial Monument in central Noumea.

The new government will meet again to decide on the allocation of the portfolios to each government member.

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