The French territory of Novel Caledonia voted in opposition to independence in a referendum on Sunday, provisional outcomes showed, amid a huge tumble in turnout as a result of a boycott of the vote by the independence circulate.
The indigenous Kanak inhabitants, who largely favor independence, had called for non-participation within the referendum because they are in a 12-month mourning interval following a September surge in coronavirus infections.
Provisional outcomes published by French authorities showed toughen for a “no” to independence used to be at 96.5%, while turnout stood at 43.9%. Sunday’s vote, the third and closing pollon the disaster, follows two previous polls in 2018 and 2020 within the course of which the “no” vote got 57% and 53% respectively.
“The Caledonians fill chosen to dwell French. They decided that freely,” French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged in a televised tackle.
“We can’t ignore that the voters remained deeply divided over the years,” he added. “A interval of transition is now starting.”
Novel Caledonia’s congress president, Roch Wamytan, a pro-independence leader, acknowledged he regretted the French govt had rejected their call to prolong the third referendum to September 2022 out of recognize for native mourning customs.
“This referendum, for us, is just not the third referendum. We withhold in thoughts that there are handiest two skilled referendums. 2018 and 2020. This referendum is the referendum of the French direct, not ours,” he acknowledged on Franceinfo radio.
Analysts misfortune a “no” vote will anger independence supporters, creating instability.
“The worst of scenarios? A “no” vote which bans independence, nonetheless whose legitimacy is rejected by the Kanaks by design of a wide abstention price motivated by Paris’s refusal to prolong the vote,” François Heisbourg, an analyst for the IISS mediate-tank, acknowledged on Twitter.
One among 5 island territories spanning the Indo-Pacific held by France, Novel Caledonia is the centerpiece of Macron’s view to amplify its influence within the Pacific.
Sunday’s vote is the third prescribed by a deal hammered out a decade after talks on the island’s future began in 1988, and which called for a series of independence referendums.
Combating erupted within the 1980s within the nickel-smartly off territory, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia and 20,000 kilometers (12,000 miles) from France, between supporters of independence and of us that desired to dangle French.