Falklands vote to stay with the UK
The people of the Falkland Islands have overwhelmingly voted to remain a British overseas territory, with 99.8% voting in favour during a two-day referendum in the capital Port Stanley.
Figures show a total of 1,517 votes were cast, of which 1,513 voted to remain under British rule, with just .02% voting against the referendum question: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”
Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Argentina to respect the wishes of the people in light of the result and said, “Britain will always be there to defend Falkland Islands”.
Foreign Secretary William Hague also welcomed the outcome and remarked: “it demonstrates more clearly than ever the islanders wish to remain as an overseas territory”.
There was a turnout of more than 90% from 1,672 British citizens eligible to vote in a population of about 2,900.
Nigel Haywood, governor of the Falkland Islands, said: “the referendum was a massive demonstration of the way the islanders feel and of the way they see their future”.
The referendum was important to the people of the Falkland Islands, with one voter commenting: “it will help raise awareness and will show Argentina and the world that the islanders can choose their own future and political status”.
The poll was recognised as “free and fair” by international observers and came against a backdrop of heightened Argentine pressure for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Islands.
However, the Argentine government made it clear that it did not recognise the referendum, stating that the votes had no legal validity and were pointless.