Voters in New Caledonia narrowly rejected independence from France in a referendum held in the Pacific archipelago on Sunday, according to figures released with 70% of votes counted.
More than 180,000 voters were asked the question: “Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?”.
As of 1 pm CET, AFP reported, the no camp had won 53.3% of votes and is likely to win overall, although with a reduced majority than in 2018, when it captured 56.7% of the vote.
The percentages represent 127,921 votes out of a total of 180,598, the territory’s High Commission said.
French President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak at 2 pm CET from the Elysee Palace.
The independence campaign has divided the Pacific territory, colonised by France in 1853, for decades. Voters last rejected splitting from France in 2018.