NOUMEA, New Caledonia — A majority of respondents in New Caledonia, an archipelago at the South Pacific, made to stay a part of France rather than backing liberty Sunday, at a referendum that indicated a landmark moment at a three-decade extended decolonization effort.
In a televised speech from Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed”a reflection of confidence in the Republic having a profound sense of appreciation… and modesty.”
Macron promised pro-independence fans” that is with you, all together, that we’ll construct New Caledonia tomorrow”
He commended the”victory” of this vote called on New Caledonia inhabitants to”look to the future”
The vote was marked with a really large turnout. More than 85 percent of respondents had cast their ballots one hour before survey stations shut, according to the global ministry.
Some polling stations in Noumea, the capital, closed an hour because people were waiting in long lines to vote in the planned final time.
Sunday’s autonomy referendum was one of the last steps of strategies initiated in 1988 to repay worries on the archipelago between native Kanaks looking for liberty and residents ready to stay in France. The South Pacific archipelago was a part of France because of 1853.
2 decades back, 56.4percent of respondents who engaged in a similar referendum opted to maintain the archipelago’s ties with Paris.
“Today isn’t a day just like any other. Everyone awakened with all the will to express oneself (throughout the vote).
Corine Florentin, that had been born Noumea 52 decades back, said she voted against liberty because she wishes to”remain French”
Guillaume Paul, an 18-year-old student at the University of New Caledonia, also voted”no” since he needs the archipelago to maintain its ties with France.
“What will the nation become if it had been independent? There’s a real risk that with no funding attracted on by France, the college would vanish,” he explained.
“We need the recognition of our identity, our civilization. I believe we can handle ourselves,” he explained.
“We will need to come back to the convention, to working in the disciplines, to remain with the tribe. Contemporary life is too complex for us,” he explained.
The archipelago currently counts 270,000 inhabitants, including the two native Kanaks, who suffered from stringent segregation policies and widespread discrimination, and descendants of European colonizers.
New Caledonia became French 1853 under Emperor Napoleon III — Napoleon’s nephew and heir — also has been used for years as a prison colony. It became an international land after World War II, together with French citizenship awarded to all Kanaks in 1957.