In brief

Corsican, Basque nationalism progress in local elections

French far right wins Northern Catalan capital Perpignan

Campaign rally of Pierre Savelli, re-elected mayor of Bastia (Corsica).
Campaign rally of Pierre Savelli, re-elected mayor of Bastia (Corsica). Author: Bastia Più Forte Inseme
Corsican nationalism has won several Corsican cities in the second round of the French Republic’s municipal elections held on 28 June. Left-wing Basque nationalist candidates also won four mayoral elections. In Alsace, autonomist party Unser Land got two councillors elected in Colmar.


Corsican nationalist candidates have managed to retain cities where they already were in government over the 2014-2020 period (such as Bastia with Pierre Savelli) but have also won for the first time in Portrivechju with pro-autonomy candidate Jean-Christophe Angelini (Party of the Corsican Nation). Also noteworthy is the victory of an autonomist candidate, Angèle Bastiani, in Lisula, a town traditionally dominated by the French right.

Outside this trend are left the historic town of Corti and the capital of Corsica, Ajaccio, which in the first round was won by outgoing mayor Laurent Marcangeli leading a local party, conservative and opposed to Corsican nationalism.

Northern Basque Country

Uztaritze, Ziburu, Urruña and Itsasu are the four largest municipalities that will have left-wing Basque nationalist mayors. This is a milestone for the movement, which until now only led the Uztaritze council.

In the capital of the Northern Basque Country, Bayonne, outgoing mayor and president of the Agglomeration Community of the Basque Country, Jean-René Etchegaray (UDI, centre-right), has secured another term.who An abertzale candidate, Laurence Hardouin, has been elected on his list. Etchegaray has defeated socialist candidate Henri Etcheto, who was against the existence of the Basque Country Agglome and also opposed promotion of the Basque language. For this reason, the Basque abertzale parties decided not to support Etcheto in the second round.


Pro-autonomy mayor of Carhaix Christian Troadec had already won his re-election for a fourth term in the first round on 15 March. As for the main Breton autonomist party, UDB, it managed to elect several councillors from lists led by socialists or ecologists in the country’s main cities Brest, Nantes and Rennes. The UDB or candidates close to the party have also won smaller municipalities, such as Montfort-sur-Meu with Fabrice Dalino, Montreuil-le-Gast with Lionel Henry, or Plounérin with Patrick L’Héreec.

Northern Catalonia

For the first time a far right candidate (Louis Aliot of the Rassemblement National, formerly Front National) has won the mayoral race in Northern Catalan capital Perpignan. Aliot has defeated outgoing mayor Jean-Marc Pujol (centre-right), who was the political heir of the Alduy mayors (father and son), and thus ended 60 years of continuity in the city of Roussillon. Also in Pià a RN candidate has been elected mayor.

On the other hand, in Elna, communist Nicolas Garcia —grandson of Spanish Civil War exiles and supporter of the independence of Catalonia in the south of the border— has been elected, as has been former director of Cultural Affairs of Perpignan, Marie Costa, in Els Banys d’Arles (Amélie-les-Bains).


The election of Jeanne Barseghian as new mayor of Strasbourg is a highlight. Alsatian capital will thus have the first green mayor in its history, stemming from a left-wing alliance which pro-autonomy party Unser Land supported in the second round. Barseghian is the great-granddaughter of Berdjouhi Barseghian, one of the first three women to be elected to Parliament in Armenia in 1918. An Alsatian regionalist activist (Jonathan Herry) and a communist activist of Kurdish origin (Hülliya Turan) have also been elected as councillors on that list.

Unser Land has won two councillors in Colmar on a centre- list (Nadia Hoog and Richard Schalck). It will be the largest city in Alsace where the autonomist party will have representation, beyond a handful of councillors in smaller towns.


The Occitanie País Nòstre movement supported several candidates who had expressed some kind of commitment to the promotion of the Occitan language and culture. Among the most prominent are United Montpellier, led by socialist Michaël Delafosse, who has been elected new mayor of the city, and Olivier Bianchi, also a socialist, re-elected mayor of Clermont-Ferrand. It should be said, however, that the election programmes of these two candidates make no mention of Occitan.