In a third referendum, 96.5% of those in New Caledonia voted against independence, with turnout stood at only 46.5% after a boycott by some ethnic groups. The indigenous Kanak group, in customary mourning for a surge in deaths caused by coronavirus, abstained, even though they largely support independence.

The French government rejected their calls for an extension for this third referendum, the last agreed to in peace talks with France in 1988 after a separatist insurgency.