People within the French abroad territory of New Caledonia have narrowly rejected independence from France in a referendum.
The archipelago voted to stay French with 53.26% of votes, in accordance with closing outcomes reported by AFP information company. Turnout – at 85.6% – was excessive.
In an analogous vote two years in the past, the margin was barely wider, with 56.7% voting to remain French.
New Caledonia has been a French territory for practically 170 years.
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the outcome as a “signal of confidence within the republic”, including he additionally felt “humility” in view of the outcomes.
The referendum was a part of a collection of votes agreed 20 years in the past, following bouts of violence within the 1980s over the difficulty of independence between the islands’ indigenous Kanak folks and descendants of European settlers.
Kanaks symbolize round 40% of the inhabitants, whereas Europeans, principally born within the territory, make up a couple of third. Others come from different Pacific islands or are of combined heritage.
Several agreements have been signed together with the 1998 Noumea Accord, which set out a roadmap for better autonomy for the territory.
Under this settlement, New Caledonia is allowed as much as three referendums on independence. A 3rd referendum can happen by 2022, if requested by a 3rd of the native meeting.
New Caledonia has massive deposits of nickel, a significant element in manufacturing electronics, and is seen by France as a strategic political and financial asset within the area.
It enjoys a big diploma of autonomy however relies upon closely on France for issues like defence and schooling and nonetheless receives massive subsidies from Paris.
It is one of the UN’s 17 “non-self governing territories” – the place the method of decolonisation has not been accomplished.
France first claimed the islands, house to some 270,000 folks, in 1853.