Selin ATAY-TDO- New Caledonia, the tropical archipelago in the South Pacific, will hold a second referendum to decide whether its people want independence from France.
The people of New Caledonia have spent the last 170 years under French rule. The people of the island are expected to reject breaking away from France after almost 170 years despite rising support for the move.
The referendum on New Caledonia's independence is seen as a struggle between the mostly pro-independence indigenous Kanak population and the descendants of European settlers known as "Caldoches" in the 1980s.
Sunday's vote is the second time New Caledonia has gone to the polls to decide on its fate in two years. The first referendum in 2018 resulted in the maintenance of the status quo with 56.7 percent of the vote.
After the murder of Black George Floyd in police violence in the United States, anti-colonialism actions began on a global scale. It is expected that a popular vote after these actions could further highlight the division between the island's residents.
More than 180 thousand registered voters in the referendum would answer the question that "Do you want New Caledonia to gain full sovereignty and become independent?". If the people of the tropical archipelago vote 'yes' in a referendum, New Caledonia, which came under the French colony in 1853, will achieve full independence and become a sovereign state.
Located 16 thousand kilometers from France, New Caledonia became an overseas territory after World War II, and in 1957 All Kanaks were granted French citizenship. Under French colonial rule, the Kanaks were subject to strict policies of racism and widespread discrimination.
The Kanaks account for 40 percent of the island's population and the Caldoches account for 27 percent. The remaining island people are immigrants from Asian countries.