In a recent referendum, the inhabitants of the French island territory of New Caledonia overwhelmingly decided to remain part of France.
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the results of the referendum, which he called “loud confirmation of the role of France in the South Pacific region” and announced the start of negotiations on the future status of this territory. New Caledonia’s pro-independence political factions boycotted the referendum, demanding a postponement due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accusing the French authorities of trying to influence its outcome. Less than 44% of New Caledonians took part in the referendum, of which 96% rejected secession from France.
New Caledonia was colonized by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century. Located to the east of Australia, the archipelago is home to 270,000 people and is home to a French military base. The time difference with Paris is 10 hours.