French Guiana and Martinique reject referendum for increased autonomy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Voters in French Guiana and Martinique voted down referendums for increased autonomy from France earlier today, according to poll results.

In French Guiana, with a turnout of 48%, the vote was 69.8% against increased independence from France; in Martinique, with a 55% voter turnout, the polls were 80% against extra autonomy.

In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed the outcome, saying it reflected the strong ties between the territories and metropolitan France. Both Martinique, in the Caribbean, and French Guiana were granted French department status when France relinquished total control more than half a century ago.

Supporters of greater autonomy, however, have argued that it would allow the territories greater say in key issues like development, education and employment.