Falkland Islanders vote to remain British

by Ray Clancy on March 12, 2013

Falkland Islanders vote to remain British

Falkland Islanders vote to remain British

The much publicised and long-awaited referendum on whether those living in the Falkland Islands which to remain a British overseas territory closed today with a landslide victory in favour of remaining part of Britain. While the result was not unexpected bearing in mind the fierce national pride amongst the islanders it does take us to a new level with regards to the ongoing dispute between Argentina and the UK government.

The results of the Falkland Islands referendum

The basic figures make good reading for the Falkland Islanders and those wishing to remain as part of Britain within a 90% turnout from the 1,672 residents able to vote. The total number of votes cast was 1,517 during the two-day referendum and all but three of these votes were in favour of remaining a British overseas territory.

There is great joy and jubilation on the islands today at the not unexpected results and indeed the UK government has already given its word that the island will be protected come what may. The fact is that under United Nations rules and regulations, self-determination is a major element of the future destiny of any land. The United Nations has on the whole been very quiet with regards to this ongoing dispute between the UK and Argentine government but the islanders are now pushing for a final ruling on this ongoing disagreement.

Will Argentina respect the referendum result?

The Argentine government has already made clear that in the eyes of people in Argentina the referendum by the Falkland Islanders is illegal and irrelevant. Indeed during a recent visit to the United Kingdom the Foreign Minister of Argentina refused point-blank to meet anybody from the Falkland Islands during expected three-way discussions about the future.

Quote from Gringos.com : “The tiny community is expected overwhelmingly to vote in favour of retaining its status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom and the results are due to be announced in the early hours of Tuesday.”

To all intents and purposes this referendum has given the UK government and the Falkland Islanders themselves more ammunition to fight the ongoing disagreement with Argentina. Argentina on the other hand is now looking to pull together an array of supporters from Latin America and indeed has long been attempting to bring on board the United Nations. So far the UK government has refused point-blank to discuss the future of the islands outside of the United Kingdom and after today’s referendum result it seems less likely than ever that Argentine claims to the islands will ever be openly discussed with the UK government.

Will there be a backlash from Argentina?

Just a few weeks ago there were rumours that the Argentine government would look to land a token gesture party on the island with the idea of flying the Argentine flag. So far there has been no attempt at such a public relations stunt although emotions are running high both in Argentina and the Falkland Islands and such an event cannot be discounted completely.

The Falkland Islands government is now hopeful that governments around the world will formally recognise the islander’s right to self-determination and their overwhelming support to remain part of the British overseas territories. So far the vast majority of Argentina’s supporters in Latin America have remained fairly quiet although we should see clarification of any political movements in the next few days.

Conclusion

While in many ways the result of the referendum, called by the government of the Falkland Islands, was never in dispute it will be interesting to see how the vast majority of worldwide governments react. The Argentine government has already claimed it will not recognise the referendum and the resulting vote although whether this will be the case with Argentina’s various supporters across Latin America remains to be seen.

Recent attempts by the Argentine government to bring in the United Nations to settle this dispute once and for all have so far fallen on deaf ears. When you bear in mind that the right to self-determination is a major element of the United Nations base principles, how can they ignore the views of the people?

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