New Caledonian voters are supporting the “Non” vote against independence from France with more than half the votes now counted in the referendum on its future.
Reports from media in New Caledonia say the office of the French High Commissioner for the South Pacific territory says the “Non” camp against independence has nearly 64 percent of the 80,990 votes counted so far.
In all, 174,000 people were registered to vote in Sunday’s ballot.
The Pacific archipelago became French in 1853 but the region’s native Kanak people faced severe discrimination under colonial rule.
New Caledonia now receives about 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in French state subsidies every year, and many fear its economy would suffer if ties are severed.