By: AP |
October 4, 2020 10:18:32 pm
A girl factors to a voting pocket book earlier than voting in Noumea, New Caledonia, Sunday, Oct.4, 2020. Voters in New Caledonia, a French archipelago within the South Pacific, had been deciding Sunday whether or not they need independence from France in a referendum that marks a milestone in a three-decade decolonization effort. If voters select independence, a transition interval will instantly open in order that the archipelago can prepare for its future standing. In any other case, New Caledonia will stay a French territory. (AP Picture/Mathurin Derel)
Voters in New Caledonia turned out in giant numbers on Sunday to determine whether or not the archipelago within the South Pacific ought to get independence from France and break ties that had been first established within the mid-19th century.
Sunday’s independence referendum is a part of a three-decade decolonization effort aimed toward settling tensions on the archipelago between native Kanaks in search of independence and residents prepared to stay in France.
Greater than 180,000 voters had been invited to reply the query: “Would you like New Caledonia to realize full sovereignty and grow to be unbiased?” “Immediately shouldn’t be a day like some other. Everybody awoke with the need to precise oneself (by the vote). This can be a historic day,” Robert Wayaridri, 60, advised The Related Press.
In Noumea, the capital, giant traces of individuals waited to vote below the new solar, typically for hours. Nearly 80% of voters had already casted their ballots one hour earlier than ballot stations closed, in response to the French ministry of the Abroad.
Throughout the archipelago, horns and cheers might be heard all day within the streets, and a few folks waved pro-independence flags in a relaxed ambiance.
The FLNKS motion main the independence marketing campaign referred to as on its supporters to remain “calm and respectful.” Polling stations closed at 6 pm (9 am in mainland France). Outcomes are anticipated later Sunday.
If voters select independence, a transition interval will instantly start in order that the archipelago can prepare for its future standing. In any other case, New Caledonia will stay a French territory.
Corine Florentin, who was born in Noumea 52 years in the past, stated she voted in opposition to independence as a result of she needs to “stay French”. “We will stay collectively, all races collectively, and design our frequent future,” she stated.
A scholar on the College of New Caledonia, Guillaume Paul, 18, additionally voted “no” as a result of he needs the archipelago to maintain its ties with France.
“What would the nation grow to be if it was unbiased? There’s a actual hazard that with out the financing introduced by France, the college would disappear,” he stated.
However Joachim Neimbo, 22, was in favour of independence.
“I voted sure, as a result of that’s my folks’s fight. We wish the popularity of our identification, our tradition. I feel we’re capable of handle ourselves,” he stated.
Taguy Wayenece, 25, additionally voted “sure” to independence.
“We have to return to custom, to working within the fields, to stick with the tribe. Trendy life is just too sophisticated for us,” he stated.
Two years in the past, 56.4% of voters who participated in an identical referendum selected to maintain the area’s ties with Paris.
Each referendums are the ultimate steps of a course of that began 30 years in the past after years of violence that pitched pro-independence Kanak activists in opposition to these prepared to stay in France.
The archipelago now counts 270,000 inhabitants, together with each native Kanaks, who as soon as suffered from strict segregation insurance policies and widespread discrimination, and descendants of European colonisers.
New Caledonia turned French in 1853 below Emperor Napoleon III “Napoleon’s nephew and inheritor” and was used for many years as a jail colony. It turned an abroad territory after World Warfare II, with French citizenship granted to all Kanaks in 1957.
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