Today, Orak was rudely awoken with a start. Verum said, “Orak, Orak! Get your tempus machine out!”

Now, Orak was rather cross. He said, “What is so urgent that you woke me up? I was in the middle of a pleasant nap!”

“Well, we need to travel one week back in time! New Caledonia held its third and final referendum. A referendum is a vote in which all the people in the country or area are asked to vote to decide on a particular issue. This referendum was about independence. About 96.49% of people voted against independence,” replied Verum.

An astonished Felix asked, “Voted against independence?”

“Let me explain,” said Verum, “New Caledonia is an island that lies about 1,200 kilometers to the east of Australia. However, it isn’t an independent country. New Caledonia is a French territory.

There are two major groups in New Caledonia. The Kanaks are the original inhabitants of the island. When New Caledonia was a colony, French people settled there. Their descendants are called the Caldoches. The Kanaks want independence from France but the Caldoches don’t. They are proud of their French heritage.

But New Caledonians have discussed the question of independence quite often. The territory held referendums in 2018 and 2020. In both these referendums, the islanders voted against independence.”

“If they have voted against independence from France three times in a row, it sounds like the New Caledonians are sticking to their decision”, said Scorch.

“And that’s why I want to head to New Caledonia to see what is happening with my own eyes,” said Verum.

The Mysticals hopped into the tempus machine and reached New Caledonia. It was a beautiful place surrounded by the bright blue sea. Verum made herself visible to humans and began asking questions. She found out something quite interesting.

Only 3.51% of New Caledonians voted in favor of independence. But only 43.90% of people turned up to vote. Kanak leaders called for a boycott of the vote as they wanted to delay the referendum to 2022. To boycott is to refuse to participate in an action to express disapproval. That’s why election observers are questioning how valid this referendum is.