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New Caledonia will remain French after referendum, Macron said


PARIS Dec 12 New Caledonia will remain French territory, French President Emmanuel Macron said following the third referendum, in which the majority of the archipelago's residents voted against independence. According to the official results of the High Commissioner of New Caledonia, 96.49% of the participants in the referendum voted against independence from France, 3.51 in favor. %. The turnout was extremely low, 43.9%. Opponents of independence were also victorious in the first two referendums in 2018 and 2020. “On 12 December, for the third time, New Caledonian residents were asked to speak out in full sovereignty. Following the referendums held on November 4, 2018 and October 4, 2020 (Sunday) the majority of New Caledonians voted against independence amid a very low turnout, “Macron said in a televised address following the referendum. He noted that he accepts the choice of New Caledonians with respect and humility. “Respect – for this word, for the Noumea Agreement (which provided for the holding of referendums on independence – ed.), Which led us to this result. Respect for all the inhabitants of Caledonia – those who wanted to remain part of France, and those who wanted independence … “, – said the French leader. France Initiates Schengen Reform During EU Presidency Nationalists have called for a boycott over the coronavirus epidemic in New Caledonia. The French authorities refused to postpone the date of the vote. Although the majority of New Caledonian residents said “no” to independence from France three times, one cannot fail to take into account that “the electorate remained extremely divided,” Macron said. According to him, after the third referendum, a transitional period will open, which “should lead to the construction of a common project with respect for the dignity of everyone.” Macron said that the Minister of Overseas Territories Sebastian Lecornu, on his order, is now in New Caledonia to prepare this new stage. “The people of New Caledonia chose to remain French. They decided freely. It is pride and recognition for the whole nation. France is more beautiful today. because New Caledonia has decided to stay in it, “the President of the French Republic emphasized. New Caledonia is an archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean, almost 20 thousand kilometers from mainland France. In 1853, France declared New Caledonia its possession. Now this territory, which is home to about 270 thousand people, is endowed with a special administrative-territorial status. The agreement signed in 1998 on the successive decolonization of the archipelago in the Pacific Ocean provides for three referendums. The first took place on November 4, 2018, when 56.7% of voters were against independence. During the second referendum, held in October 2020, 53.3% of citizens opposed independence.

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