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New Caledonia votes against independence from France

The French Pacific territory New Caledonia rejected independence in a referendum, although the winning majority was significantly smaller than predicted.

With voter turnout over 80%, 56.4% opted to remain as part of France.

Polls had actually forecasted a win of up to 75% for the ‘no’ [to independence] campaign.

New Caledonia is of strategic importance to France as a foothold in the Pacific.

However commentators have said the results could reignite tensions between the indigenous Kanak people of the island, who tend to be pro-independence, and the population of white French colonial settlers who have occupied the islands since 1853.

Kanak representatives have said they would continue the fight for independence.

See more from Sky News.