- New Caledonia will remain part of France, seal in referendum
- 96 percent agreed to live with France
- China was also increasing its influence rapidly, President Macron was happy with the victory of France
Voters in the French Pacific region of New Caledonia voted on Sunday to remain with France. However, pro-independence forces boycotted this referendum. French President Emmanuel Macron called this result (of the referendum) a great seal on the role of France in the Indo-Pacific region and announced to discuss the future status of the region. However, separatist activists expressed their dismay. It is also being considered a setback for China, which is rapidly increasing its influence in New Caledonia.
Separatist activists had appealed to delay the referendum due to the pandemic. They are outraged and allege that the French government tried to influence the campaign. That is why he had called upon his supporters to stay away from the polling stations. That happened too. A large number of pro-independence people boycotted the plebiscite.
96 percent in favor of staying with France
According to official figures, 96 percent of those who voted chose to stay with France. By the way, the voting percentage was only 42. This figure is less than half of the voters in the last independence referendum. Then in the referendum, 46.7 percent of the voters were in favor of leaving France. Sonia Bax, president of the Southern Province region, said that tonight, we are the French and we will remain so. The voting took place under the supervision of the United Nations.
Referendum held amid growing influence of China
The referendum was held in the midst of a global effort to liberate the colony and the growing influence of China in the region. New Caledonia is an archipelago that was colonized by Napoleon’s nephew in the 19th century. 270,000 people live in this area. Macron said in his televised address that tonight France has become more beautiful because New Caledonia has decided to stay (with France).
All procedures will be completed in 18 months
Sunday’s voting was the third and final phase of the three-decade-long decolonization process. This process started with the violence of 1988. Then France granted extensive autonomy to New Caledonia under the Noumea Agreement. However, this process has not ended with this last referendum. Now France, separatists and non-separatists have 18 months to negotiate the new status. At 307 polling stations in the archipelago, people were asked the question, do you want to see New Caledonia achieve full sovereignty and become independent?