The 170-year French colony of New Caledonia has once again voted down the chance to be independent of rule from Paris.
Rejecting Sunday’s independence vote, 53.26% of those who went to the polls opted to remain with France according to results from the west Pacific islands late Sunday.
Turnout has been reported at around 85.6%.
The second in three possible independence votes – a previous vote was held in 2018 – Sunday saw fewer people opting for the status-quo.
The 2018 poll had 56.7% voting to stay as part of France.
Upon hearing the result, 17,000km away in France, current French President Emmanuel Macron called the result a “sign of confidence in the republic”.
New Caledonia is still heavily subsidised by French taxes and can, should 33% or more of the local government request it, have a third vote for independence in 2022.
The terms of the voting process, unlike the unsuccessful one-time independence vote in Scotland in 2014, and the July 2011, successful South Sudan secession from Sudan, were set in place as part of the 1998 Noumea Accord when racial violence between the island’s indigenous people known as the Kanaks, and those of European descent, was not uncommon.
At present, Kanaks number around 110,000 people or around 40% of the total population.
Those originally from Europe make up a further 30% or so.