Corsican nationalists have demanded talks with the French government over more autonomy after a convincing win in Sunday’s regional elections. President Emmanuel Macron now faces the dilemma of whether to loosen France’s grip on the Mediterranean island or to maintain centralised control. Like Catalonia, whose bid for independence from Spain has sparked a crisis with Madrid and in the European Union, Corsica has long harboured separatist ambitions. Sunday’s second-round vote, in which a coalition of nationalist candidates won a 56.5% share, strengthens the hand of those seeking greater control. Unlike Catalonia, which is wealthy and self-sufficient, Corsica depends heavily on funding from Paris, prompting the Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) movement to insist it is seeking autonomy not independence.
It has issued three core demands: equal recognition for the Corsican language, an amnesty for those in jail considered to be political prisoners, and recognition of a special residency status for Corsica to stop foreigners buying holiday homes on the island, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pè a Corsica finished well ahead of Macron’s La République en Marche, which polled third with only 12.7% of votes. More than 47% of Corsicans did not vote.