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    French President Emmanuel Macron visits the museum in Ajaccio, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica

    Macron's Corsica Visit 'Historic Chance' to Advance Autonomy - Party Official

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - The ongoing visit of French President Macron to Corsica is "a historic chance" to give momentum to the discussions about autonomy for the island and Corsican officials expect that the French leader would voice proposals on the issue, the president of the Corsica Libera faction in the Corsican legislative body told Sputnik.

    "It’s a historic chance for Corsica today … when the nationalists had an honest win at the territorial election last December with more than 57 percent of votes, to open a new chapter of relations between Corsica and Paris. I’m also saying it’s a historic chance because in Paris the review of the constitution is underway, and there is thus a possibility to take into account the demands of the Corsican elected representatives, notably the demand of the status of autonomy," Pierre-Antoine Tomasi said, speaking about the prospects of dialogue between central authorities and the region.

    READ MORE: Macron Vows to Keep Corsica French Amid Nationalist Calls for Greater Autonomy

    Though Macron is currently implementing a reform that will allow regions to adjust the general law to make it more applicable for their specific needs, Corsica would like to go even further by having a special provision added to the French constitution based on Article 74, which is dedicated to French overseas territories, the lawmaker explained.

    "Corsica has a special history, it has particular demands, and it has a specific geographical situation, and it’s necessary that it derogates from the general law and has its particular legislation. We know that if we are inscribed in the general law we would not be able to solve a number of our fundamental problems, notably the real estate issue, the question of its language, and the question of taxes, as we see that taxation established for all the French territories is not adapted to Corsica," Tomasi pointed out.

    The politician said that the constitutional amendments related to Corsica's autonomy demands would face opposition in Paris, however, Ajaccio would continue its struggle to gain more rights from the central government.

    READ MORE: Autonomy, Not Independence: Ex-Minister Talks About Corsican Elections

    "For us what Macron says will not be the end, we have our lawmakers in Paris. This will be about lobbying to try to inscribe Corsica in the constitution in a way adapted to the situation. I think this is something one must not forget in the circumstances that we met, including in the [National] Assembly, the deputies who are much more understanding," Tomasi stated.

    On Tuesday, the French president started his two-day visit to the country's southern region, which came after more than half of regional voters had backed parties supporting greater autonomy in the December vote.

    Corsica is calling for constitutional changes that will give the island a special autonomous status. Macron previously said that he was open to dialogue, however, he later ruled out making any changes to the constitution, thus effectively rejecting Corsicans’ major demand that the Corsican language be given official status.

    It has been a part of France since 1768, however, it still has a number of nationalist movements. The groups advocating for regional autonomy exert efforts to achieve their goals by political means, but certain groups, such as the National Front for the Liberation of Corsica, have also been engaged in violent activities struggling for independence.

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    autonomy, reform, Emmanuel Macron, Corsica, France
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