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French Voter Approve Referendum on Algeria

January 6-8 1961

In a vote held over a three day period French voters gave overwhelming approval to a referendum that would give provisional autonomy to Algeria and lead to its eventual independence.  French President de Gaulle was made it clear that he would resign if his plan were not accepted.   The referendum which was criticized on both the right and the left stated:  “Do you approve of the draft law concerning the self- determination of the Algerian population and the organization of public powers before self determination” 75.3 percent of the votes cast in continental France favored the resolution with only 24.7 opposed.  In Algeria 67 percent of those voting favored the resolution.  Many Muslim in Algeria boycotted the election under instructions from the leaders of the Moslem rebellion there.  The Communist party also opposed the resolution but it seems many of its members ignored the party line and voted for the resolution.  Rightest generals opposed the resolutions, fearing it would lead to Algerian independence, which they opposed.  The resolution was an overwhelming endorsement of de Gaulle and his policies that soon led to Algerian Independence.