Caledonia Together Party upset at end of alliance

Philippe Gomes. Picture: AFP

NOUMEA, (RNZ PACIFIC) – New Caledonia’s biggest anti-independence party has hit out at the leaders of other parties who have quit an informal alliance formed a year ago.

The four-party coalition was forged to prepare this year’s referendum on independence from France but worsening rancour in its ranks led to its collapse last week.

The Caledonia Together Party has now accused the others of putting the territory’s peace at risk by refusing to engage in a dialogue with the pro-independence side.

Its leader Philippe Gomes said these parties were stunned by the prospect of next year’s provincial election and fear of losing their voters if they were seen to be in talks with the pro-independence side.

Different to other parties, his was not like a coconut moved by water and the wind, Gomes said.

They were now telling crass lies and reneging on the undertaking given last year, he said.

Last week, France’s UDI party, which Gomes represents in the French National Assembly, expressed regret at the collapse of the four-party grouping.