On Monday night, residents of the Falklands/Malvinas islands held a referendum and voted, by an overwhelming majority of 98.8%, to express their desire to remain a British overseas territory. Only three voters filed a negative ballot, and 92% of Falklands/Malvinas voters participated in the referendum.
The islanders held celebrations following the decisive result, singing ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’, ‘God Save the Queen’ and Rod Stewart’s ‘I Am Sailing’, as well as flying the UK flag.
The Argentine government did not recognise the referendum, declaring it an illegal meeting. On Friday, a group of senators requested a special congressional hearing to make a declaration against the Falklands/Malvinas vote.
“The referendum this weekend is a new political action of an advertising nature concocted by the UK,” said Daniel Filmus, head of the Foreign Relations Committee. “This publicity stunt has no validity under international law.”
The Argentine government’s refusal to acknowledge the vote, combined with the fact that the outcome was widely expected, will limit the impact of the referendum on the sovereignty debate. However, this is the first time the issue of sovereignty has been put to an official vote by the Falklands/Malvinas inhabitants.
The UK now hopes to convince the US to alter its stance on the issue from neutral to pro-UK behind the argument of self-determination. The Argentine government has rejected the self-determination stance because, it argues, self-determination cannot be used by the islanders because they originally colonised the land.