New Caledonia holds final referendum on independence from France

Voters in the French territory of New Caledonia voted on Sunday on whether to continue to be part of France, Related press report.

New Caledonia, an archipelago in the South Pacific with a population of about 250,000, became a French colony in 1853, granted equal citizenship to indigenous residents in 1957, receiving a degree of autonomy in in 1988 and rejected previous independence referendums in 2018 and 2020 In 2018, 43.6% of voters supported independence. In 2020, the percentage of voters supporting independence has increased to 46.7%.

Sunday’s referendum was the third and final vote allowed under the 1998 Nouméa Treaty. The agreement also stipulates that, if voters choose a third time to continue to be part of France, “opponents” Political partners will meet to consider the situation thus created” and renegotiate the terms of New Caledonia’s semi-autonomous regime.

France is eager to maintain its foothold in the South Pacific as China’s influence in the region grows. The French military maintains a base in New Caledonia – one of only two France has in the Pacific – and cooperates with the US, Australia and New Zealand on various regional security initiatives.

The archipelago’s pro-independence camp has called for a boycott of the referendum after the French government rejected a request to postpone it. The letter of the Treaty of Nouméa stipulates that a third referendum should be held in 2022.

New Caledonia is not the only former colony to tell of its past. Last month, after protests broke out on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, France’s minister in charge of overseas territories, Sebastien Lecornu, said he was ready to grant greater autonomy to the island. this, Reuters report.

In the same month, Barbados, a former British colony also located in the Caribbean, break a relationship with the British monarch and officially became a republic. New Caledonia holds final referendum on independence from France


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