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Politicians welcome referendum result in Mayotte

Article published on the 2009-03-30 Latest update 2009-03-30 14:45 TU

(Photo: AFP)

(Photo: AFP)

The inhabitants of the island of Mayotte voted by referendum on Sunday to become France's 101st department. It will become France's fifth overseas department after over 95% of the poll voted in favour.

The result was welcomed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Junior Ministers for Overseas and for Cooperation, Yves Jégo and Alain Joyandet respectively.

Although the result was overwhelmingly in favour, turnout for the vote was just over 61%.

The move from Mayotte's current status as a "departmental collectivity" to that of overseas department will come into force in 2011. The island's move to become part of France has been a long process and began in 1974 when it opted out of the move to independance of the other islands in the Comoros archipelago.

Yves Jégo said on Sunday that he hoped to see regular direct flights from France to Mayotte before the end of 2009.

In Moroni, the capital of the Comoros, about 500 people demonstrated on Sunday against the idea of Mayotte as a French department.