Corsican nationalists seeking greater autonomy from France sent a “very strong signal to Paris” with a landslide victory in the first round of territorial assembly elections Sunday.
The final results show that the governing Pe a Corsica (For Corsica) – an alliance of Femu a Corsica and Corsica Libera – won 45.36 percent of the vote. In contrast, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) trailed in fourth (11.26 percent).
Two years after their breakthrough win in regional elections, the nationalists are poised for victory in the final round of voting on December 10.
"I think that today Corsica is sending a very strong signal to Paris, and that a large majority is saying: we want peace, we want democracy, we want to build an emancipated island," Gilles Simeoni, Femu a Corsica's leader, told France’s Europe 1 radio.
The leader of Corsica Libera, Jean-Guy Talamoni, said that Sunday’s result surpassed even the nationalists' own expectations, proving that "for Corsicans, Corsica is a nation," Le Figaro reported.
Corsica, however, isn’t likely to follow in the footsteps of the Catalonian parliament by declaring independence.
Talamoni told France Inter radio that the question of independence for the Mediterranean island, which boasts its own language and special administrative status, would come up only "in 10 or 15 years."
"If a majority of Corsicans want [independence] in 10 or 15 years, nobody will be able to oppose it," he concluded.