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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

Falkland Islands residents vote to remain affiliated to Britain

1,513 people voted to keep the islands as a UK overseas territory – while only three said they wanted to break away.

Falkland Islanders hold a pro-British rally on Sunday, ahead of yesterday's referendum - in which 99.8pc of voters opted to retain the connection with the UK.
Falkland Islanders hold a pro-British rally on Sunday, ahead of yesterday's referendum - in which 99.8pc of voters opted to retain the connection with the UK.
Image: Paul Byrne/AP

RESIDENTS OF the Falkland Islands have voted by an overwhelming margin to remain affiliated to the United Kingdom.

A referendum of island residents saw 99.8 per cent of voters backing a proposition asking them to affirm whether they wanted the archipelago to remain a United Kingdom overseas territory.

1,513 people voted in favour of retaining the status quo, while only three voters said otherwise. Independent international observers supervising the ballot said they were satisfied with the vote.

A rejection of the referendum would not necessarily have brought the islands under the control of Argentina, as the proposition before voters only asked if they wanted to remain affiliated to the UK.

However, many of the islanders expressed desires that the Argentinian government would respect the wishes of the islanders who had no desire to come under the authority of Buenos Aires, which launched a military invasion in 1982 and prompted a war with Britain.

“It’s a brilliant, brilliant result,” islander Alice Clarke told The Independent. “We hoped it would be convincing but the turn out and the percentage in favour is a very powerful statement.”

One of the islands’ MPs, however, said the point of the referendum was not to measure domestic opinion – as most already believed the islanders wanted to remain British – but rather as a symbol to outside countries.

Argentina has yet to offer a formal response to the vote, though Argentina’s ambassador to London immediately played down the impact of the ballot.

“We respect their way of life, their identity,” Alicia Castro told an Argentine radio station.

“We respect that they want to continue being British, but the territory they inhabit is not British.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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