Greater than 53.2% of voters mentioned they needed their territory to stay French, delivering a end result that French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed “with a deep sense of gratitude” and “humility,” in a solemn deal with from the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Regardless of the general end result, help for independence is rising within the New Caledonia, which was colonized by France in 1853. Greater than 46.7% of ballots forged have been in favor of independence, up from 43.3% within the final vote in November 2018.

Turnout was over 85% because the ballot befell with none masks or social distancing measures. The pandemic has largely spared the archipelago, which has stored Covid-19 case numbers very low by drastically lowering worldwide flights and imposing necessary quarantine for all arrivals.

The referendum was a part of a decolonization plan below the Nouméa Accord, agreed in 1998, which ended a lethal battle between the largely pro-independence indigenous Kanak inhabitants and the descendants of European settlers. One other referendum may be held by 2022 if not less than a 3rd of the native legislature requests it.

Situated between Australia and Fiji, New Caledonia offers France a strategic foothold within the Pacific Ocean, the place China is increasing its affect, in addition to necessary nickel reserves. It has a inhabitants of 270,000.