Corsican Nationalists Win Historic Victory in French Elections

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via The Guardian:

Corsican nationalists have won a historic and unexpected victory in France’s regional elections, gaining two seats short of an outright majority on the island.

The Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) list won more than 35% of the votes in the second round of polls on Sunday, giving it 24 of the 51 seats in the local authority council.

Nationalists, who joined forces with those seeking independence from French control for the runoff vote, are now the Mediterranean island’s main political force.

[. . .]

“It’s a victory for Corsica and all the Corsicans,” Simeoni said in his victory speech. Supporters waving the Corsican flag – known as the Moor’s head, showing a head wrapped in a bandana on a white background – cheered.

“My first thoughts go to all those early campaigners who have battled for our cause for half a century – among them the youngsters, some of whom are in prison. It’s a victory for an alternative policy to that which has failed Corsicans for decades.”

Corsicans, he added, had a “thirst for democracy, economic development and social justice”.

Jean-Guy Talamoni, leader of the independence group, added: “It’s been a 40-year-long march to arrive here. Corsica is not just a French administrative constituency – it’s a country, a nation, a people.”

Corsica’s increasingly powerful nationalist and independence movements are opposed to France’s cultural and political dominance over the island, which it annexed in 1768. Nearly two and a half centuries have not strengthened the bond between the island and Paris.

Corsican voters also elected a candidate from the far-right Front National for the first time in 17 years.

There are at least two branches of nationalism on Corsica: nationalists who seek reform aimed at promoting Corsican identity, and hardline independence seekers who want the island to break free of France.

The nationalists will have two years to prove themselves in power. Local authority reorganisation means Corsicans will be called on to vote again in two years.

If Corsicans want to protect their identity, they had better act quickly and decisively. They are on the verge of becoming a minority in their own land.  Somehow, based on their appeals to “democracy, economic development, and social justice”, I suspect that the Corsicans will fail to stem the tide.

Place of birth of residents of Corsica
(at the 1982, 1990, 1999, and 2011 censuses)
Census Born in 

Corsica

Born in
Continental 

France

Born in
Overseas 

France

Born in 

foreign
countries 

with French
citizenship 

at birth¹

Immigrants2
2011 56.3% 28.6% 0.3% 5.0% 9.8%
from the Maghreb3 from Southern Europe4 from the rest of the world
4.3% 3.8% 1.7%
1999 59.5% 24.8% 0.3% 5.5% 10.0%
from the Maghreb3 from Southern Europe4 from the rest of the world
5.3% 3.3% 1.4%
1990 62.0% 21.3% 0.2% 6.0% 10.5%
1982 61.6% 20.4% 0.2% 6.0% 11.8%
¹Essentially Pieds-Noirs who resettled in Corsica after the independence of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, many of whom had Corsican ancestry.
2An immigrant is by French definition a person born in a foreign country and who didn’t have French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still listed as an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
3Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
4Portugal, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Gibraltar, Monaco
Source: INSEE[3][5][6]

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