New Caledonia once again votes “no” to independence, with more than 96% of the votes

This is the third time that New Caledonians have been invited to vote on the independence of the archipelago. But the separatists had called for a boycott of the ballot.

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The results fell: New Caledonia voted overwhelmingly “no” to independence, with 96.49% of the votes, according to official results communicated by the High Commission on Sunday 12 December. The “yes” received 3.51%, the blank and null votes 2.99%. 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

Turnout stood at 43.90%, in free fall compared to previous referendums, a consequence of this call to boycott the ballot. The President of the Republic spoke at the beginning of the afternoon on these results. “We cannot ignore that the electorate has remained deeply divided”, recognized Emmanuel Macron during a speech. A period of transition begins, which should lead us to build a common project. (…) The promise of common destiny must guide us, he added. Tonight, France is more beautiful because New Caledonia has decided to stay there. “

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 in the South Pacific, which saw 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 on Thursday. 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 dispatched experts to ensure the proper conduct of the ballot.