Falkland Islands: Result of referendum remains clear 10 years on
Over 10 and 11 March 2013, Falkland Islanders overwhelmingly decided their future political status. The referendum asked voters “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”
The decision to hold a referendum followed on from Argentina having become increasingly hostile, having committed to an active policy of not recognising the existence of the Islands’ community in any capacity whatsoever. Members of the Legislative Assembly and the Falkland Islands Government were determined to ensure that Islanders’ voices were heard.
A team of 8 independent, experienced international observers monitored the referendum from within the Islands along with world media and the result was reported around the globe.
Islanders voted overwhelmingly to remain as a British Overseas Territory, the referendum saw 92% of all eligible voters turn out, resulting in 99.8% of votes being ‘yes’. It was confirmed by the independent observers that the referendum process was free and fair, and was executed in accordance with international standards and local laws.
Chair of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Leona Roberts said: “The Falkland Islands are a proud member of the British family and we will defend our status as an internally self-governing, financially self-sufficient British Overseas Territory. As a country we have to continually remind the international community that Falkland Islanders’ have the right to self-determination; that will was never more clearly exercised than in the referendum 10 years ago and must be respected by those who value democracy and freedom. The political status of the Islands is the decision of our people and not of our aggressive and hostile neighbour.”
“I will never forget the feeling of pride over those two days when we had the world watching our Islands and our people so clearly expressed our wishes. A decade on, nothing has changed and the Falklands remain resolute in our allegiance to the United Kingdom and our determination to decide our own political future.”