New Caledonia profile
Head of state: (French) President Francois Hollande, represented by a high commissioner
President: Harold Martin
Harold Martin succeeded Philippe Gomes as president of New Caledonia in March 2011. He previously held the post from August 2007 to May 2009.
Mr Martin - together with Mr Gomes - was a co-founder of the centre-right Future Together party, which backs the maintenance of political and administrative ties with France. Future Together ended the dominance of another anti-independence party, Rally-UMP, which governed New Caledonia for several decades until 2004.
In 2008 Future Together split, and Mr Gomes broke away to form the Caledonia Together party.
Mr Martin is descended from the earliest European settlers on the islands, who arrived before the territory was annexed by France in 1853.
The president of New Caledonia is elected by Congress.
At a national level, New Caledonia is represented in the French Parliament by two deputies and two senators.