New Caledonia Voters Choose to Stay Part of France

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  • Bloomberg QuickTake: Now published this video item, entitled “New Caledonia Voters Choose to Stay Part of France” – below is their description.

    A majority of voters in New Caledonia chose to remain part of France instead of backing independence in a referendum Sunday that led the French president to call for dialogue after a three-decade decolonization effort in the South Pacific archipelago. The overseas ministry said 53.3% of voters chose to maintain ties with France while 46.7% supported independence. Turnout was high, with more than 85% of voters casting ballots one hour before poll stations closed. Sunday’s independence referendum was among the final steps of longstanding plans to settle tensions on the archipelago between native Kanaks seeking independence and residents willing to remain in France. New Caledonian politicians acknowledged Sunday the need for dialogue between pro- and anti-independence sides. The archipelago has a population of 270,000, including both native Kanaks, who once suffered from strict segregation policies and widespread discrimination, and descendants of European colonizers. New Caledonia became French in 1853 under Emperor Napoleon III — Napoleon’s nephew and heir — and was used for decades as a prison colony. It became an overseas territory after World War II, with French citizenship granted to all Kanaks in 1957.

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    In This Story: New Caledonia

    New Caledonia is a French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and marine-life-rich lagoon, which, at 24,000-sq.-km, is among the world’s largest. A massive barrier reef surrounds the main island, Grand Terre, a major scuba-diving destination. The capital, Nouméa, is home to French-influenced restaurants and luxury boutiques selling Parisian fashions.

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