On Sunday, December 7th, 2003, inhabitants of St. Barths went to the voting booth to voice their opinion in a special referendum that could permanently alter the island's political relationship with France.

    The issue at hand is whether St. Barths should remain, as it is, a part of the Department of Guadeloupe, or whether it should receive a new political status: that of a Collectivités Territoriales d'Outre-Mer.

    For many long years, a precise definition of St. Barths' political prerogatives and obligations has been in perennial contention, largely due to many unique aspects of the island's culture and history.

    A "oui" vote, in favor of a new status, will mean greater autonomy for the local administration, and a recognition of the unique circimstances in which St. Barths citizens find themselves.

    A "non" vote, in favor of remaining a commune of the Department of Guadeloupe, will mean that all of the existing laws that govern any typical French/Guadeloupean commune will be applied in St. Barths without argument.

  The number of participants and the degree of a "oui" victory are both significant in that they will effect the degree of attention given to the matter by the French national admistration.

  The results are of Sunday's election are below:

Number of registered voters: 3697   
Number of participating voters: 2910 78.7%
Votes in favor ("oui"): 2724 95.5%s
Votes against ("non"): 128 4.5%
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