Corsica after the 1982/1983 Special Statute

  • Susan J. Henders


The Socialists together with the Communists swept to power in the May and June 1981 presidential and legislative elections on promises to transform France (see Wright 1981). They had pledged to revitalize the economy, create a more equitable society, build a “new citizenship,” and strengthen democratic life, in part through decentralizing the territorial distribution of political power and authority. A future Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard described the decentralization plan as the “institutional decolonization of France.” It was heralded as one of the “great reforms” of the new government. Named after Gaston Defferre, minister of the interior and of decentralization under Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, the decentralization reforms included a statut particulier,1 or special statute, for Corsica, where violence linked with nationalist groups and independence demands had been on the rise. The special statute gave Corsican regional authorities a unique institutional configuration and autonomy in education, social and cultural policy, and economic development that, initially, was unavailable to other parts of metropolitan France.2 As the quote above demonstrates, Defferre himself emphasized that recognizing the right to difference and autonomy of minority territorial communities showed the truly democratic n ature of a country.


French Government Civil Society Group Constitutional Norm Political Autonomy Corsican Identity 
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© Susan J. Henders 2010

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  • Susan J. Henders

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