A majority of voters in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia chose to remain part of France in a Nov. 4 independence referendum, a watershed moment that led French President Emmanuel Macron to promise a full dialogue on the archipelago’s future.
The final results of the referendum showed 56.4 percent of the voters deciding to maintain ties with the country that has ruled New Caledonia since the mid-19th century, and 43.6 percent supporting independence, the high commissioner’s office said.
“I’m asking everyone to turn toward the future to build tomorrow’s New Caledonia,” Macron said, speaking from the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. “The spirit of dialogue is the sole winner.”
More than 174,000 registered voters were invited to answer the question: “Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?”
Turnout was a record-high 80.6 percent. Some polling stations in the capital, Noumea, stayed open about an hour longer than planned to handle the crush. (AP)