Current Affairs Politics

The French Elections 2012 – The Breton Connection

The Agence Bretagne Presse carries the results of the first round of votes to the French parliament from Brittany (in French, of course). Nationalist politics in Brittany is incredibly fractious and has been since the 1970s. The Unvaniezh Demokratel Breizh (UDB) remains the largest party but it is a regionalist one (à la Plaid Cymru) and largely competes as part of shifting electoral alliances with other parties (most of which are “pro-French”). So far it has had mixed results electorally and this looks unlikely to change anytime soon. Their main rivals are the nominally Breton republican Strollad Breizh who have made relatively little impact at the ballot box. There are others such as the long-standing if all-but-defunct Emgann, not to mention the newer Breizhistance (which had a some modest success in this election as part of a wider Left coalition – spoiled by post-election disagreements in classic Breton style).

Of course France’s electoral system, which favours large establishment parties, doesn’t help but unfortunately some blame must attach to Breton nationalists themselves.

2 comments on “The French Elections 2012 – The Breton Connection

  1. I must admit, since being introduced to the situation in Bretagne, to having a lot of trouble identifying with a single institutional party at least until now. Clearly the problems shared by the Breton (as many nations without proper political representation ) are similar to those in Québec (promotion of language, alienation towards your own national identity and so on). Your article seems to showcase this difficulty, perhaps soon I hope, things will become clearer.

    For one thing, IMO national and nationalist parties cannot be “regional” in any sense. Clearly, having your own language and identity means you are fully engaging in the world around you.

    Thank you for the article, merci!!


    • I quite agree. Breton nationalist politics is unfortunately overshadowed by the disagreements of the WWII era and afterwards. They have yet to escape that long shadow. And the willingness of some “nationalists” to accommodate themselves with the all-powerful French state and Paris-based establishment parties doesn’t help either.

      Of course it should be admitted that France’s electoral system, which is specifically geared to thwart smaller separatist or regionalist parties, makes things far worse.


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