KIt is expected that Anaks will continue to campaign for independence, and two more votes could be cast in the next few years.

The vote this year was a condition for a 1988 agreement between separatists and the government that ended four years of violent unrest that resulted in the killing of 25 people during a hostage crisis.

Laurent Wauquiez, chairman of the right-wing opposition party The Republicans, welcomed the result and quoted General de Gaulle, who told the New Caledonians 54 years ago, "You have a French role in this part of the world. You are a piece of France, you are Austral France. "

Like the right-wing leader Marine Le Pen, Mr Wauquiez had criticized Mr Macron for having officially remained neutral rather than joining the 'leftover' campaign.

The Left Party, France Unbowed, said the result was "a deep disappointment for anyone who believes in the need for full sovereignty of the peoples of the archipelago".

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