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French Polynesian voters elected a pro-independence party in the archipelago’s elections, a victory that has renewed calls for a referendum on independence for France’s sprawling South Pacific overseas territory, Politico reported.

The Tavini Huiraatira party of former President Oscar Temaru won 38 of the 57 seats in parliament, securing an absolute majority in the second round of the vote.

Turnout was just under 70 percent, up 10 percent over the first round, according to Radio New Zealand.

The new parliament – chosen for a five-year term – is set to gather in the coming weeks to nominate a new president for the French overseas territory.

Although French Polynesia already enjoys a degree of autonomy with some control over policies such as healthcare and education, higher education and defense policies remain under French control.

Since 2013, French Polynesia has been on the United Nations’ decolonization list, but France has refused to recognize the UN decision and refuses to participate in a UN-supervised process.

The issue of independence has been a longstanding one, with observers noting that winning an absolute majority has given the Tavini Huiraatira party its strongest chance yet of achieving independence.

Still, any such move would require France’s approval.

French Interior and Overseas Minister Gérald Darmanin congratulated the victors on their win, while pledging to “continue to improve the daily life of our Polynesian fellow citizens.”

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