New Caledonia votes “no” to independence, with more than 96% of the votes, after the counting of nearly 90% of the ballots

This is the third time that New Caledonians have been called to the polls. But the separatists had called for a boycott of the ballot.

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The almost final results of the third referendum have fallen: New Caledonia voted overwhelmingly “no” to independence, with more than 96% of the votes, after nearly 90% of the ballots were counted on Sunday 12 December. The separatists had announced that they would not go to the polls, citing the impossibility of organizing “a fair campaign” while the archipelago has been affected since September by the Covid epidemic and the Kanak population is plunged into mourning.

>> Follow the reactions to the third and final consultation on independence in New Caledonia

The turnout in this last self-determination referendum stood at 41.60% at 5 p.m. on Sunday (7 a.m. in Paris) according to the High Commission, down sharply compared to the previous two, as a consequence of this call to boycott the ballot.

The President of the Republic will speak at 1 p.m. on these results. The speech of the Head of State should last “ten minutes”, specified the presidency. Emmanuel Macron had already spoken to the French in November 2018 and October 2020 following the first two self-determination referendums in this small French territory of the South Pacific which had seen the “no” to independence prevail in two times.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, “the next day there will be life together” with France, in particular “given the geopolitical reality of the region”, assured the head of state Thursday. The dialogue will not be so easy, however. The separatists have already made it known that they would not recognize the result of the ballot and that they would contest it before international bodies.

New Caledonia has been included since 1986 on the list of non-self-governing territories to be decolonized by the UN, which has also sent experts to ensure the proper conduct of the ballot.

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