Nationalists seeking greater autonomy for France’s Corsica on Monday ruled out an imminent independence bid but demanded greater freedoms for the island after winning the first round of regional elections. The governing Pe a Corsica (For Corsica) alliance, which groups the pro-autonomy Femu a Corsica (Let’s Make Corsica) and pro-independence Corsica Libera (Free Corsica), won 45.36 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election to the regional assembly. Local rightwing party La Voie de l’Avenir (Future Path) came second with 14.97 percent, ahead of France’s main opposition conservative Republicans in third with 12.77 percent.
President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM), which has failed to make inroads on the Mediterranean island of 330,000 people, trailed in fourth with 11.26 percent.
The result puts the nationalists on course for a thumping victory in the second and final round of voting on December 10, two years after their breakthrough win in regional elections.