Saturday 21 October 2017

Just three Falkland Islanders vote against remaining part of Britain

Andrew Brown Lee, a Falklands islander, wears a suit with the Union Jack colours as he attends the vote counting at the Town Hall in Stanley March 11, 2013. Residents of the Falkland Islands voted on Sunday and Monday in a sovereignty referendum that seeks to counter Argentina's increasingly assertive claim over the British-ruled territory. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (FALKLAND ISLANDS - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Andrew Brown Lee, a Falklands islander, wears a suit with the Union Jack colours as he attends the vote counting at the Town Hall in Stanley March 11, 2013. Residents of the Falkland Islands voted on Sunday and Monday in a sovereignty referendum that seeks to counter Argentina's increasingly assertive claim over the British-ruled territory. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (FALKLAND ISLANDS - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Falkland islanders react after hearing the results of the referendum in Stanley March 11, 2013. Residents of the Falkland Islands voted almost unanimously to stay under British rule in a referendum that has inflamed a long-running sovereignty dispute with Argentina, results showed on Monday. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (FALKLAND ISLANDS - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Neil Tweedie

The people of the Falklands have delivered one of the most emphatic votes in recent history when 99.8 per cent of those taking part in a referendum on the future of the islands said yes to remaining a British overseas territory.

Just three people responded with the answer “No” to the question: "Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” A total of 1513 answered in the affirmative.

In truth, the outcome of the poll was never in doubt, but the size of the Yes vote, combined with a turnout of 92 per cent, provoked gasps and cries of “Listen to us!” from the crowd gathered inside Port Stanley town hall.

Outside, under the arch made of giant whale bones that is one of Stanley’s landmarks, a crowd sang “God Save the Queen” and Rod Stewart’s “I am Sailing”.

“I expected a big turnout but the strength of this vote leaves the world in no doubt about the wishes of the people of the Falkland Islands,” said Jan Cheek, a member of the islands’ eight-strong Legislative Assembly.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, welcomed the result, and in a comment aimed at Argentina, which invaded the islands in 1982, asked all nations to respect the islanders’ wishes.

“We have always been clear that we believe in the rights of the Falklands people to determine their own futures,” he said. “It is only right that, in the 21st Century, these rights are respected. All countries should accept the results of this referendum and support the Falkland islanders as they continue to develop their home and economy. I wish them every success.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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