First entry: 3 November 2018, Saturday, 23:52
New Caledonia, the South Pacific Archipelago, decides whether or not to remain in France or will be the last independent state in the world at the end of the long decolonization process.
Polls are open today at 23.00 (Greek time, 8.00 local time). There are a total of 175,000 votes. The results will be announced on Sunday morning.
This is the first referendum on the self-determination of French soil in the African horn of Djibouti in 1977.
Citizens are asked to answer "yes" or "no" to the question: "Do you want new Caledonia to be sovereign and independent nationwide?" Votes indicate that the majority support the maintenance of the current order, although there is tension between the descendants of the natives, separatist Canak, and those living in Parisian loyalties.
New Caledonia was discovered by British researcher James Cook. In 1853 it became a French settlement and lies over 16,700 kilometers from mainland France.
During the colonial rule Kanak was excluded from most of the region's economic activity. In 1878, the first rebellion broke out shortly after the discovery of large nickel sets – today SLN, a subsidiary of French Eramet, operates.
Nearly a hundred years later, in the mid-1980s, conflicts broke out between independence supporters and those of New Caledonia who wanted to stay in France. The 1988 massacre on Ubea Island, where 19 parental separatists and two French soldiers were killed, talked about the island's future. The 1998 agreement maintained a referendum in 2018 on independence.
Under the agreement, if the proposal on independence was lifted, two new referendums could be held for the next four years.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2010, 23:53