New Caledonia voters choose to stay part of France – by Charlotte Antoine-Perron (Associated Press/CTV News – October 4, 2020)

NOUMEA, NEW CALEDONIA — A majority of voters in New Caledonia, an archipelago in in the South Pacific, chose to remain part of France instead of backing independence Sunday, leading French President Emmanuel Macron to call for dialogue, as the referendum marked a crucial step in a three-decade long decolonization effort.

In a televised address from Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed “an expression of confidence in the Republic with a deep feeling of gratitude… and modesty.”

Macron promised pro-independence supporters “this is with you, all together, that we will build New Caledonia tomorrow.” He praised the “success” of the vote and called on New Caledonia residents to “look to the future.”

“We are facing our history in New Caledonia, an colonial history,” Macron said. “And we are trying to overcome it so that we are not trapped in it. We know that today we are at a crossroads,” he said.

The overseas ministry said results show 53.3% of the voters who participated in the referendum on Sunday have chosen to maintain ties with France, while 46.7% supported independence.

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