A majority of voters in New Caledonia have chosen to stay a part of France as an alternative of backing independence
In a televised handle from Paris, President Emmanuel Macron welcomed “an expression of confidence within the Republic with a deep feeling of gratitude… and modesty.”
Macron promised pro-independence supporters “that is with you, all collectively, that we’ll construct New Caledonia tomorrow” and referred to as on New Caledonians to look to the longer term.
“We face our historical past in New Caledonia, an colonial historical past,” Macron mentioned. “And we try to beat it in order that we’re not trapped in it. We all know that right now we’re at a crossroads.”
Sunday’s independence referendum was among the many ultimate steps of longstanding plans to settle tensions on the archipelago between native Kanaks searching for independence and residents prepared to stay in France.
A peace deal between rival factions was achieved in 1988. A decade later, the Noumea Settlement granted New Caledonia political energy and broad autonomy and deliberate the group of as much as three successive referendums.
Two years in the past, 56.4% of individuals in an analogous referendum voted towards independence. A 3rd referendum could also be organized by 2022.
New Caledonian politicians acknowledged Sunday the necessity for dialogue between pro- and anti-independence sides.
The president of the archipelago’s authorities, Thierry Santa, is amongst those that need New Caledonia to stay a French territory. He confused the “deep division” within the inhabitants.
“That’s as much as us political leaders to have the intelligence to sit down round a desk and talk about what we wish for the longer term,” Santa mentioned.
Sonia Backes, president of the South province, additionally in favor of preserving ties with France, mentioned “the ‘no’ gained yet another time, however we have to take note of all voters, together with independence supporters.”
The president of the Congress and a number one determine within the pro-independence motion, Roch Wamytan, vowed to “proceed to struggle for the independence of our nation.”
The president of the pro-independence Caledonian Union get together, Daniel Goa, referred to as all on residents to “not let themselves be overwhelmed by feelings and welcome the end in a pacifist environment.”
Australian International Minister Marise Payne mentioned her authorities appeared ahead to “persevering with to construct a deeper and stronger partnership” with its near-neighbor following the poll.
“Australia values its shut relationship with France as a like-minded accomplice within the Indo-Pacific area,” Payne mentioned in an announcement.
“We welcome France’s ongoing dedication to the Pacific and its important contribution to regional safety and prosperity,” she added.
The archipelago has a inhabitants of 270,000, together with each native Kanaks, who as soon as suffered from strict segregation insurance policies and widespread discrimination, and descendants of European colonizers.
New Caledonia turned French in 1853 beneath 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.