New Caledonia says ‘non’ in referendum on independence from France

Greater than 53.2% of voters mentioned they wished their territory to stay French, delivering a consequence that French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed “with a deep sense of gratitude” and “humility,” in a solemn deal with from the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Regardless of the general consequence, assist for independence is rising within the New Caledonia, which was colonized by France in 1853. Greater than 46.7% of ballots solid had been in favor of independence, up from 43.3% within the final vote in November 2018.

Turnout was over 85% because the ballot befell with none masks or social distancing measures. The pandemic has largely spared the archipelago, which has saved Covid-19 case numbers very low by drastically decreasing worldwide flights and imposing obligatory quarantine for all arrivals.

The referendum was a part of a decolonization plan underneath the Nouméa Accord, agreed in 1998, which ended a lethal battle between the principally pro-independence indigenous Kanak inhabitants and the descendants of European settlers. One other referendum could be held by 2022 if no less than a 3rd of the native legislature requests it.

Positioned between Australia and Fiji, New Caledonia provides France a strategic foothold within the Pacific Ocean, the place China is increasing its affect, in addition to essential nickel reserves. It has a inhabitants of 270,000.

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