Almost 100% of the Falklanders who voted in the referendum on 10 and 11 March endorsed the idea for the archipelago to remain under UK jurisdiction.
The Government of the Falklands carried out a plebiscite in response to the territorial claims of Argentina, which presses the UK to start a negotiation process to resolve the territorial dispute in the South Atlantic islands.
After the counting of votes held in the City of Port Stanley, the head of the polling station, Keith Padgett, announced that the percentage of voters who said “yes” to continue as a UK dependent territory was of 98.8 %. The number was later corrected to 99.8%.
The participation of the people of the Falklands in this referendum was of at least 92%, a figure much anticipated given the high expectations that this query generated in this small community.
According to data released by the electoral board, 1,518 people voted in this consultation, of which 99.8% chose to remain under British rule, and only and 0.2% chose not to do so.
The result of the referendum was widely expected by the inhabitants of these islands in the South Atlantic, whose government had decided to convene as a way to make clear the desire to continue under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
The hall of the City of Port Stanley burst into a cheer where a group of legislators of the islands gathered to hear the result. A few meters from the municipal building, other islanders sang and danced after hearing the result.
The Government had provided four legislative polls fixed in the two main islands, West Falkland and Soledad. Besides those polling places, the local government also enabled five “mobile”polling booths and one small plane to visit the most remote villages in the archipelago.
The inhabitants of the Malvinas (Falklands in Spanish) had to respond with a “yes” or “no” to the question whether they wished to continue as a dependent territory of the UK.
For this referendum, the first of its kind held in the islands, ten observers from several countries monitored the vote to try to assure that the process was fair and transparent.
After learning the result, the head of the observer delegation, American Brad Smith, said the vote was “free and fair” and reflected the “will” of the people of the Falkland Islands.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Government had indicated it was not going to accept the result of the plebiscite, which it deemed as illegal and irrelevant. Argentina’s government claims that the islands belong to its territory, and has been calling for its return since 1833.