The indigenous Kanak inhabitants, who largely favor independence, had referred to as for non-participation within the referendum as a result of they’re in a 12-month mourning interval following a September surge in coronavirus infections.
“The Caledonians have chosen to stay French. They determined that freely,” French President Emmanuel Macron stated in a televised tackle.
“We won’t ignore that the voters remained deeply divided over time,” he added. “A interval of transition is now beginning.”
New Caledonia’s congress president, Roch Wamytan, a pro-independence chief, stated he regretted the French authorities had rejected their name to postpone the third referendum to September 2022 out of respect for native mourning customs.
“This referendum, for us, shouldn’t be the third referendum. We take into account that there are solely two professional referendums. 2018 and 2020. This referendum is the referendum of the French state, not ours,” he stated on Franceinfo radio.
Analysts concern a “no” vote will anger independence supporters, creating instability.
“The worst of situations? A “no” vote which bans independence, however whose legitimacy is rejected by the Kanaks through an enormous abstention charge motivated by Paris’s refusal to postpone the vote,” François Heisbourg, an analyst for the IISS think-tank, stated on Twitter.
One in all 5 island territories spanning the Indo-Pacific held by France, New Caledonia is the centerpiece of Macron’s plan to extend its affect within the Pacific.
Sunday’s vote is the third prescribed by a deal hammered out a decade after talks on the island’s future started in 1988, and which referred to as for a collection of independence referendums.
Combating erupted within the 1980s within the nickel-rich territory, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia and 20,000 kilometers (12,000 miles) from France, between supporters of independence and people who needed to remain French.