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Southwestern France revolts over new region's name

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Southwestern France revolts over new region's name
Photo: AFP
11:56 CEST+02:00
You can't call our new region Nouvelle Aquitaine, argue thousands of French people worried they'll be misrepresented.

What's in a name? 'Would "Nouvelle Aquitaine" by any other name still smell as sweet?' as Shakespeare might have said, if he'd lived in south western France.

Well, apparently it would, according to 19,000 people who have signed a new petition to block "Nouvelle Aquitaine" from being the prime candidate for the name of the new region.
 
This comes after France's map was redrawn in January this year after decades of wrangling, with French lawmakers voting just before Christmas to slash the number of regions in metropolitan France from 22 to 13. 
 
The new map means that the former three regions of Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes in southwestern France have all become one (see map below). 

But the fact that authorities have suggested "Nouvelle Aquitaine" as the region's new name has angered many people in the new "super region".
 
"The merger of three former regions shouldn't be an annexation of two regions by the third one," a new petition reads
 
 
"Nouvelle Aquitaine doesn't mean anything," petition author Hugues Linyer told Le Nouvelle République.
 
"We must find a name of today that respects all identities. I'm Rochelais but there are also Basques, Béarnais, Limousins and Poitevins and we are not Aquitains."
 
The name "Nouvelle Aquitaine" will be put forward to a vote on June 27th.
 
The renaming process of the new regions has caused headaches and some ridicule across France this year. 
 
Voters in the east of the country settled on "Grand-Est" (Great East) as the name of their new region in April after a public outcry at the other options offered: "Nouvelle-Austrasie", "Rhin-Champagne", and "Acalie". 
 
In March the name "Hauts de France" was chosen for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region in the far north, but it too spawned an outcry. 
 
One person pointed out that with Hauts de Fance (that could translate as Upper France), and with Great East, a region in central France should be called Middle Earth after the land in fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.
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