Never had Corsican nationalism been so strong. According to historian Jean-Marie Arrighi, it would have to be traced to see something comparable to times of Pascal Paoli, considered far of nation, and of brief independence in eighteenth century. But today its power is very limited: centralist France leaves little leeway for regions. The victory of Autonomist and Independence coalition in first round of elections in Corsica, on Sunday, extends hegemony of this current, which demands greater autonomy. The French president's party, Emmanuel Macron, Republic in motion, called for "regaining trust" of island.
The nationalists feel strong to raise ir claims to Paris after second round of elections, next Sunday. Among ors, coofficiality of Corsican language, creation of a statute of residents that obliges to live on island to be able to own houses, and approach or amnesty of so-called political prisoners. The joint programme of President of Executive Council of Corsica, Gilles Simeoni, and Jean-Guy Talamoni, president of Corsican Assembly, does not include independence, a minority option on island. The lowest common denominator between Autonomista Simeoni and Talamoni independence is to achieve, within a period of three years, a statute of autonomy, and apply it within ten.
Simeoni and Talamoni govern toger since 2015. His victory was expected. The Joint List Pè to Corsica — headed by Simeoni and Talamoni in fifth position — obtained more than 45% of votes. The regionalist right, 15%. The right of Republicans and Marching Republic of Macron hover 12%. The advancement of elections — legislature lasted only two years — was scheduled. It was a question of electing legislators and executive who will govern island after merger, beginning on January 1, of two departments that have hirto set up Corsica and regional government.
"This has been brewing for some time," says from Ajaccio historian Arrighi, co-author of History of Corsica and Corsican, to explain new nationalist hegemony. "There are issues that defend nationalists who have progressively imposed mselves, such as defense of Corsican language or of territory, of nature." But for a long time a majority did not contemplate voting for m because of clandestine violence. ' When in 2014 FLNC (front of National Liberation Corso) announced deposition of weapons, four decades of violence and terrorism were closed, and road to success of peaceful way was opened.
Anor factor to explain electoral success of Nationalists: same wave of Dégagisme ( French version of "Go All"; rejection of status quo) which in May led to Macron to Elysium. Or Simeoni's talent, son of one of historical leaders of nationalism, Edmond Simeoni. And anor factor: independence message has remained in background in favor of autonomism, which reflects a broad consensus in Corsican society. In campaign, one of arguments of opponents of Simeoni and Talamoni was to warn about risk of a catalanization of Corsica. The Catalan crisis has planned on campaign, but nationalist leaders, especially Simeoni, have insisted that route Corsa was different from Catalan.
The conservative diary Le Figaro does not see "cause for concern" in result, and yes a triumph of "realistic bet" of Nationalists. Macron and his government "should address negotiations and find answers," Editorializa Le Monde. "Unless exacerbate a little more challenge of Corsica to Paris." "[The result] is a very strong message addressed to Paris." We want peace, we want democracy, we want an emancipated island, said Simeoni on election night. "It is up to Paris to go along its part of way so that toger we will create a political solution." In a statement, party of Macron congratulates Simeoni and says that result marks "an attachment to Corsica and a loss of confidence in its relationship central state." And he adds: "We have to rebuild this trust throughout France."