New Caledonia Government Collapses Over Nickel Plant Sale
Umer Jamshaid 29 days ago Tue 02nd February 2021 | 01:05 PM
New Caledonia's coalition government collapsed Tuesday after pro-independence politicians resigned over disagreements over the budget and the sale of a nickel factory on the French South Pacific territory
Noumea (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Feb, 2021 ) :New Caledonia's coalition government collapsed Tuesday after pro-independence politicians resigned over disagreements over the budget and the sale of a nickel factory on the French South Pacific territory.
The resignation of the FLNKS group -- who count five of 11 members of the executive -- means Congress will have to elect a new executive within 15 days.
The group has been tussling with the government over the sale of the Brazilian Vale nickel factory, with indigenous leaders claiming an offer by a local firm has been unfairly overlooked by the French government and the current owners.
"The members of the government (separatists) present their resignation," said a letter filed by Louis Mapou, leader of the UNI-FLNKS (National Union for Independence) group and his counterpart Pierre-Chanel Tutugoro from the UC-FLNKS (Caledonian Union).
The information was confirmed to AFP by government sources.
Vale wants to sell the factory -- which provides 3,000 direct and indirect jobs -- to a consortium of Caledonian and international buyers led by Swiss commodities trader Trafigura.
Indigenous leaders had wanted a Caledonian-Korean consortium that promised to keep a majority stake in islanders' hands, but the consortium withdrew its offer.
New Caledonia is also facing an unprecedented budgetary crisis, and is battered by Covid-19.
An island of around 270,000 inhabitants located about 2,000 kilometres (1,250) miles east of Australia, New Caledonia has been a French territory since 1853 but enjoys a large degree of autonomy.
October's referendum was the second of two, both of which resulted in wins for the "No" camp. Another referendum is set to be held in 2022.