New Caledonia rejects independence from France in third vote (Al – December 2021)

Residents of the Pacific territory of New Caledonia have voted overwhelmingly to remain part of France in a third referendum that was boycotted by pro-independence groups, local media reported.

Police reinforcements have been sent to the territory known as “the pebble”, which is of strategic importance to France and is part of a wider tussle for influence in the Pacific between Western countries and China.

Local television channel NC la 1ere reported that, with 90.23 percent of ballots counted, 96.32 percent of voters had voted “No” to independence in a result that will raise fears of unrest and questions about the legitimacy of the process.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that New Caledonia will remain French. “Caledonians have chosen to remain French. They decided that freely,” Macron said in a televised address. “We can’t ignore that the electorate remained deeply divided over the years … A period of transition is now starting,” he added.

For the rest of this article: