Mayotte Referendum 2009
The French oversea island of Mayotte will become the 101th department of France in 2011 following a referendum, approved by 95.22% of voters. Mayotte will therefore be a DOM like Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, and Réunion.
Mayotte, the fourth island in the French Comoros, rejected independence in 1974 with 65% against. In the three Comoran islands, 95% voted in favour. The Comoran government still claims Mayotte and considers it illegitemately occupied by France. Mayotte was first a territorial collectivity and since 2000 it is a departmental collectivity.
With this massive vote in favour, Mahorans will receive full advantages associated with the status, including the RMI and other financial benefits. However, the 1905 law on separation of church and state will apply to Mayotte and polygamy will be illegalized. For that reason, the only supporters of the NO were imams and prominent Islamists (95% of Mahorans are Sunni Muslims). All political parties in Mayotte supported the YES (any party supporting the NO would have been politically destroyed). However, the PCF in France did not support the YES, saying that the Comoran and AU claims are legitimate.
Mayotte, which has a general council, will remain institutionally similar. Unlike the 4 DOMs, Mayotte will not have a regional council simultaneously to a general council. The 4 other DOMs will probably have the option of choosing such a setup in the near future.