He no to independence has won this on Sunday with 53.26% in New Caledonia during the second referendum on self-determination in this French archipelago in the South Pacific, but it registered a drop of more than three points compared to the 2018 ballot, according to final results.
The gap is narrowing with the separatists (46.74%) in elections marked by a historic turnout of 85.64% (+4.5 pts) .s.
The plebiscite has been distinguished by its very high attendance, more than 85% of the approximately 180,000 registered voters.
This result is especially disappointing for the Kanak, the indigenous population of the place, since many of them had waited a long time to have their own state. However, and according to law, the New Caledonian Congress may call another referendum in two years.
Years of violence
New Caledonia, united with France for 167 years, experienced years of violence in the 1980s among supporters of independence, supported by the indigenous population, and the pro-French forces widely supported by the descendants of European settlers.
The conflict ended with a peace agreement in 1988 that gave autonomy to three provinces, of which two had a population with a majority of the Kanak. Ten years later, another agreement extended this autonomy, recognized the historical injustice against the indigenous population and set 2018 as the deadline for an independence referendum, with two additional votes until 2022.
New Caledonia, which has been inhabited for around 3,000 years, has a population of around 269,000 inhabitants and is located 1,200 kilometers froml east of Australia and 18,000 kilometers from Paris.