Falkland Islands to decide their future

Source: AFP

Falkland Islanders are voting today to decide whether they are to remain part of the UK.

Falkland’s residents started a two day referendum yesterday to decide the future of the islands despite Argentinian opposition.

1,672 voters are being asked whether or not to remain an internally self-governing British overseas territory.

The referendum is taking place in four static polling stations, one in Stanley and three in other settlements.

The vote is expected to keep the islands as a part of Britain as the overnight exit polls gave a resounding “Yes” result.

The British government says it will not discuss sovereignty issues with Argentina unless the islanders request this with the vote.

Buenos Aires has condemned the referendum and described it as illegal, claiming it is “a British attempt to manipulate” the situation of the islands.

Meanwhile, Barry Elsby, a member of the Falklands legislative assembly said: “What we’re trying to do is send a message.” Around four-fifths of the islands permanent residents live in the capital Stanley.

Historical insight:

The UK has held the Falklands since 1833 but Argentina claims its sovereignty on islands, called “Las Malvinas” by Argentines.

In 1982 Argentina seized the islands, but Britain succeeded in recapturing the islands after a short war.

The islands are only 400 kilometres from Argentina, while they are 12,700 from the UK.

Residents hope the referendum result will arm them with an unambiguous message while pressing their case for acceptance on the international stage.

Main photo: Falklands Islands twitter

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