In the French overseas territory of new Caledonia has started a Referendum on independence from France. The residents of the approximately 270,000 inhabitants of the region in the Pacific are called to vote on whether you want the “full sovereignty and independence.”

The vote is the first self-determined independence of choice on French territory, since Djibouti voted in the Horn of Africa in 1977, on his independence. Between the natives of new Caledonia, which are in large part for the independence and the descendants of colonial settlers, the stay to Paris loyal, it has long been a great deal of tension.

An activist holds a pro-independence flag during a meeting for the independence campaign in new Caledonia on 30. October.

natives of new Caledonia, however, less than half of the Voters. Surveys assume that 60 to 69 percent of voters against independence are going to vote. The results of the 18 clock (local time) at the end of the referendum are expected on Sunday afternoon Central European time.

Many independence opponents point to the 1.3 billion euros that the French government makes every year in the public funds of new Caledonia flow. Others fear a greater influence of China in the Pacific, France should be in the Region of less present.

Since 1853, the island group belongs to France, and continues to have geostrategic importance for Paris. In addition, a quarter of the world’s Nickel, is stored here is present – an important raw material for the manufacture of electronic devices.