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Gomes plans to scuttle new government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 19, 2011) – New Caledonia’s political crisis is expected to deepen as the ousted President, Philippe Gomes, has vowed to bring down the next collegial government to be formed in two weeks.

His two-year-old administration fell on Thursday after the three pro-independence ministers resigned amid a prolonged dispute over the choice of New Caledonia’s flag.

Under the provisions of the organic law, the territorial Congress is to elect a new government on March the 3rd made up again in proportion to the strength of the political parties in the three provincial assemblies.

Mr Gomes, however, says his party will then immediately resign and automatically trigger fresh elections.

He says the maneuvering over the flag issue by the pro-independence side and the anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP was only a ploy to oust him from power.

Mr Gomes says as this amounts to a decision made behind the voters’ back, he wants to block the institution and force Paris to call fresh general elections three years early.


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