[QODLink]
Americas
Overseas French reject autonomy
French island of Martinique and French Guiana say no to more autonomy from France.
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2010 14:01 GMT
Turnout was 59 per cent in Martinique and 48 per cent in French Guiana [AFP]

Voters in the French Caribbean exclaves of Martinique and French Guiana have rejected a proposal for local government to have more autonomy from France.

The two France overseas departments held referendums on Sunday that would have given them greater say in managing their own affairs.

But preliminary results in Martinique indicate 80 per cent of voters rejected the proposal while in French Guiana 70 per cent were against the change, election officials said.

Turnout was about 59 per cent in Martinique and 48 per cent in French Guiana.

The ballot in each of the two Caribbean departments called for giving local government more administrative freedoms, with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, to determine the extent of the autonomy.

'Not ready'

Jaqueline Manger, a Martinique resident who voted against the proposal, said she "would like a change, but I don't think we are ready yet".

"I don't trust the people who lead the regional council and the general council,'' she said, referring to the local bodies that govern Martinique.

The votes were held a year after the two enclaves, along with the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion were rocked by strikes and rioting over low wages and high prices.

Sarkozy proposed holding the referendums when he travelled to Martinique in June as part of a drive to mend ties following the strike which degenerated into weeks of rioting at the start of 2009.

Martinique, which has around 400,000 residents, and French Guiana, a vast territory with some 200,000 residents, continue to face social problems including high unemployment and low wages.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
Teenage phenom with quick hands and a passion for boxing has reminded many of the great Filipino fighter at a young age.
Families of Britons killed in 2013 siege at gas plant in Algeria frustrated by inquiry delay over 'sensitive' materials.
Rhinoceros beetles once drew 40,000 visitors each year to Tamura city, but nuclear disaster has decimated beetle mania.
In run-up to US midterm elections, backers of immigration law changes disappointed by postponement of executive action.
join our mailing list