Photo: Mathurin Derel, AP
NOUMEA, New Caledonia (AP) – The latest news on the independence referendum in New Caledonia (local):
French President Emmanuel Macron says that the majority of New Caledonians, who voted in a referendum on independence, have chosen to remain part of France.
In a televised speech from Paris Macron pledged "there is no other way than the dialogue" over the future of the archipelago in the South Pacific since 1853 part of France.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will meet with officials in New Caledonia to discuss future plans.
The referendum was the result of a process that began 30 years ago to end the violence between supporters and opponents of separation from France.
New Caledonian voters support the "Non" vote against France's independence, with more than half of the votes now being counted in the referendum on its future.
The office of the French High Commissioner for the South Pacific says that the "non" camp against independence has counted nearly 64 percent of the 80,990 votes so far.
A total of 174,000 people were registered for voting on Sunday.
The Pacific archipelago became French in 1853, but the natives of the Kanak region were subjected to severe discrimination under colonial rule. New Caledonia now receives around € 1.3 billion in state subsidies each year, and many fear that its economy would suffer if relations were broken.
Turnout at the independence referendum in New Caledonia was so high that some polling stations had to stay open later than planned.
The Office of the High Commissioner for the French Territory in the South Pacific says that some polling stations in the capital, Noumea, are closed late on Sunday evening, as large numbers of people were still present during the planned closing time.
Earlier, the commissioner had estimated that about three-quarters of registered voters in the South Pacific archipelago had ballots.
Anne-Marie-Mestre, a member of a committee overseeing the referendum campaign, said the high voter turnout had strengthened the legitimacy of the vote on the liberation of France.
She said, "Nobody will doubt the representativeness and sincerity of the vote, and all ages were represented and mobilized."
First results flow into the independence referendum in New Caledonia, with a village of about 600 people, the first reported, and voted mostly against a split from France.
The High Commissioner of New Caledonia has tweeted that Farino voted against independence on the main island of the territory by 9 to 1 and that nearly 95 percent of the village's registered voters have cast ballots.
Fuller results from much more densely populated areas are expected late on Sunday.
Numerous voters have decided to decide whether the French South Pacific should liberate itself from the European land that it had maintained in 1853.
Numerous voters have decided to decide whether the French Southern Pacific region of New Caledonia should liberate itself from the European country that claimed it in the mid-19th century.
The High Commissioner of the Territory estimated that almost three-quarters of the country's registered voters cast ballots one hour before the vote closed on Sunday night, a far more robust turnout than in New Caledonia's new elections in 2014.
Results were expected later on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron was to speak from Paris in a televised speech about the future of the territory and its election.
The Independence vote was a milestone for the 270,000-inhabitant archipelago, located east of Australia, with sun-drenched lagoons and nickel mining.
The archipelago was built in 1853 under Emperor Napoleon III. French.