In the French overseas territories of New Caledonia, a referendum began on the independence of France. Residents of about 270,000 residents in the Pacific are invited to vote for "wanting to be" full of sovereignty and independence. "
Voting was the first independent vote of independence in the French territory, as Djibouti voted in 1977 for independence in the Horn of Africa. There are longstanding tensions between the indigenous peoples of New Caledonia who are largely independent and descendants of colonial settlers who remain faithful in Paris.
However, New Caledonia Indians account for less than half of voters. According to surveys, 60-69 percent of voters vote against independence. The referendum, expected at 6 pm (local time), is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, after the Central European Time.
Many opponents of independence point out that the French state spends 1.3 billion euros a year for New Caledonia statesmen. Others fear China's greater influence in the Pacific region if France is less present in the region.
Since 1853 the archipelago has belonged to France and is geostrategic in Paris. In addition, one quarter of the world's nickel deposits are stored here – this is an important raw material for the manufacture of electronic devices.