A child wearing a New Caledonian Independence Flag during the FLNKS meeting in Noumea on October 30, 2018 / AFP / Archives
France or Kanaky? The Pacific Pacific Ocean's 270,000-strong small strategic area began Sunday, with strong engagement during the day, signaling the population's interest in a historic referendum where polls predict the victory of the no.
The 41.81% share of public opinion polls at noon is much higher than the 2014 provincial elections (27.27%).
The 284 polling stations are open at 8:00 (9:00 GMT). Nearly 175,000 voters in Cluj-Napoca, colonized with significant nickel reserves in 1853, said at 18:00 (06:00 GMT) that he wanted "New Caledonia to reach full sovereignty and become independent".
The consultation provided for by the Noumea Agreement signed in 1998 aims to continue the work of reconciliation between Kanak, the indigenous population of the area and populations of European origin beginning with the 1988 Paris Agreements. was signed after the violence of the 1980s, which culminated in the uprising and attack of the Ouvé cave in May 1988, causing 25 deaths.
The referendum was closely monitored by Paris, 18,000 km. President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a television show on Sunday (at 23.00), announcing the results at 12.00.
In order to make this vote indisputable, delegates of the state and UN experts are present at the offices.
Candide Koch's school, Noumea, in the district of the Colonial Valley, a long line indicates riches. "My choice has long been for France, this is the choice, the guarantees it provides, this insurance, security," explains Patrick Levenchaud, a 54-year-old shareholder.
– impatience –
At the Gustave Mouchet school in the popular Montravel district, the population, primarily Kanak, is in line: "It's a symbolic gesture," says Alain, 46, who is Le Nickel (SLN), the largest private employer of New Caledonia. "This is the first vote that really sets the country, waiting for me, I hope it will win."
The three loyal parties, very divided, defend the reserve in France: Caledonia together (middle right), Rassemblement LR and New Caledonia Republicans. They maintain France's defense and annual support of 1.3 billion euros.
They hope this first referendum will last, while the Noumea agreement will have two further consultations within four years. But he intends to continue the dialogue with the chancellor and the state.
In the event of a victory, FLNKS (independent) stated that he would not want to interrupt France, but rather the independence that he was in partnership with.
Elie Poigoune is the historical figure of the Kanak case. If you vote yes for independence, you will maintain relations with France. He was photographed on 1 November 2018 during an AFP interview. / AFP
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who comes to Caillou on the day after the vote, this referendum is the beginning of "New Caledonia, which wants to create a future".
New Caledonia / AFP
"This is a historic event everyone would have liked, but paradoxically, the stake lost its intensity," said Pierre-Christophe Pantz, a doctor of geopolitics. "The campaign was very calm, the referendum was not enthusiastic, the bets were trivialized," especially because "the Kaledonians think they do not change their lives", but because polls do not have a broad victory, 63 -75% range.
Paul Fizin, a doctor of history, says that "if the residency rate is strong, it highlights the fact that the independence project has not been irrigated in society as a whole".
– glittering inequalities –
According to him, in spite of thirty years of economic and social equilibrium for the benefit of the first people, inequalities continue to be reflected. School failure, high unemployment, insecure housing … "there are still problems with integration and the feeling of injustice in the Chinese society," he says.
Some of Kanak's young people have become marginalized and have fallen into crime. Both sides are afraid of the reactions if they do not win. The sale of Alcohol-containing alcohol was banned on the weekend, the gendarmerie were extended, and Nouméa's prison was strengthened.
Politicians have proposed balancing for activists. But nothing says that some French pro-fane does not seem to celebrate the announced victory.