Corsican Assembly passes co-official status for Corsican and French

AMs present at the vote unanimously support the proposal · The approval has no immediate legal effect, since only the French National Assembly has legislative powers to declare Corsican an official language · The statute foresees an important role for Corsican in public administration and schools

In a landmark vote Friday 17th May, the Corsican Assembly has adopted a statute of the co-official status of the Corsican language. The approval has been achieved by an unanimous vote of those AMs present at the vote: 36 have given support to equal legal status for Corsican and French, while 11 have chosen not to vote and a further 4 were absent (these 15 AMs belong to right-wing opposition parties and to a small group belonging to pro-government centre-left parties), as reported by France 3 Corse and Corsican station Alta Frequenza. Nevertheless, a right-wing AM has voted in favour.

As had been earlier announced, pro-autonomy Femu a Corsica and pro-independence Corsica Libera AMs have all voted for the co-officiality. The majority of centre-left AMs have also done so.

Thus, the result confirms the prediction by Pierre Ghionga, president of the Council of the Corsican Language and drafter of the statute, who foresaw a "strong majority" for the text.

As Nationalia had already reported, the approval by the Corsican Assembly does not mean immediate legal effect for the co-official status. The Corsican Assembly has no legislative powers. The statute should be approved also by the French National Assembly in order to become law -and this could imply the need to amend the French Constitution.

Ghionga says he cannot imagine that the French Republic "could oppose a region's democratic will".

Public administration and schools

Public administration and education systems are the two main pillars of the co-official status for Corsican and French. The statute says that all Corsican citizens should be able to use both languages in dealings with the public administration. On the other hand, it also foresees widespread bilingualism in schools, with Corsican used as a vehicular language. The stated goal is to have a fully bilingual society.