French Pacific territory rejects independence

Posted by News Express | 4 November 2018 | 922 times

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•About 80% of those eligible voted

Voters in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia have rejected a bid for independence.

Final results showed that 56.4% chose to remain part of France while 43.6% voted to leave - a tighter result than some polls had predicted.

Turnout was about 81%. The vote was promised by a 1988 deal that put an end to a violent campaign for independence.

President Emmanuel Macron said it showed "confidence in the French republic".

"I have to tell you how proud I am that we have finally passed this historic step together," he added.

New Caledonia has large deposits of nickel, a vital component in manufacturing electronics, and is seen by France as a strategic political and economic asset in the region.

It is one of the UN's 17 "non-self governing territories" - where the process of decolonisation has not been completed.

About 175,000 people were eligible to vote in Sunday's referendum New Caledonia, east of Australia, where indigenous Kanaks make up 39.1% of the population.

French nationalism is strong among the territory's ethnic Europeans - constituting 27.1% of the population - and observers say even some Kanaks back staying part of France.

The remaining third of the population of New Caledonia's 268,000 inhabitants are also largely said to oppose independence.  (BBC)


Source: News Express

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