New Corsican union of pro-independence parties distances itself from autonomists

At the Corti International Conference Corsican pro-independence parties pledge to form a single party and overcome “collective mistakes” of the past · The new union distances itself from supporters of Corsican self-government within the French Republic

A new party to unite the various pro-independence groups in Corsica and overcome current political divisions: this was the pledge made at the Corti International Conference (Ghjurnate Internaziunale in Corsican), held during the first weekend of August. Pro-independence groups have promised unity of action and have distanced themselves from the island’s autonomist parties.

The leaders of Corsica Nazione, Rinnovu, Fronte Populare, Consulta Naziunalista and the newly-formed Strada Dritti have pledged to create a "single structure", in the words of the pro-independence leader Jean-Guy Talamoni. It is hoped that the new party, which Talamoni says could be formed before the end of 2008, will overcome the mistakes made by pro-independence parties in the past. Indeed, Rinnovu representative Paul-Félix Benedetti recognizes the need "to apologize for our collective mistakes".

The move towards greater co-operation in the pro-independence camp comes after poor results for Corsica Nazione and other nationalist parties in the local elections held on 9 March. To take just one example, in the election for the mayor of Bastia (Corsica's second largest city) the autonomist candidate, Gilles Simeoni, came second (15.91% of votes in the first round and 25.01% in the second), beaten only by the centre-left candidate Émile Zuccarelli. But Talamoni, the pro-independence representative, only obtained 6.21% of the vote.

Two ways of defending the Corsican nation

The pro-independence and autonomist camps disagree primarily about whether Corsica should remain in the French Republic or not. The group of parties headed by Talamoni's Corsica Nazione party believe the island has no place within the French state and that they should work solely for Corsican independence. The autonomists, grouped around the Partitu di a Nazione Corsa and A Chjama Naziunale (with lawyer Edmond Simeoni at the helm), have the more modest aim of greater self-government for Corsica within the French state, which they believe is a more realistic objective.

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Further information in Corsica profile.