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Alsace: 83 percent of Alsatians back return of their historical region

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Alsace: 83 percent of Alsatians back return of their historical region
Hundreds of people demonstrate holding Alsatian regional flags against the government regional reform. Photo: AFP
16:20 CET+01:00
Two years after it became part of the Grand Est, a whopping 83 percent of Alsatians -- known for being fiercely proud of their cultural identity -- want Alsace to regain its regional status, a new survey reveals.
 
However a recent study carried out by French think tank Ifop revealed that 83 percent of Alsatians want Alsace to regain its old regional status. 
 
The poll which was commissioned by several cultural institutes based in the historical region surveyed 1,002 people on several questions concerning the future of the region.
 
And according to the survey, the results of which were unveiled on Tuesday, the Alsatians haven't quite got used to the change. 
 
In fact, 55 percent of them believe that it was a "bad thing" to have happened to the region on top of the 83 percent who want a return to the way things were.  
 
The results are almost identical to those of a poll conducted in May 2017 which showed that 84 percent of Alsatians wanted the return of their region.
 
In total, 82 percent of respondents also want a referendum or popular consultation on the 're-birth' of the Alsace region and one regional organisation has proposed that this could take place during the 2019 European elections. 
 
The overwhelming support for the referendum should perhaps come as no surprise to those who were in France to witness the regional reorganisation two years ago. 
 
At the time, MPs in Alsace were particularly vocal against the proposal.
 
"In what kind of society can you marry people against their will," said the representative for the once-Alsatian Haut-Rhin department, Jean-Luc Reitzer.
 
Thousands of Alsaciens joined street protests to voice their anger over the reform, some carrying banners saying "We won't mix choucroute with quiche", referring to the two local dishes from Alsace and Lorraine.
 
When the map was drafted, Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries made it clear he would not accept it if Strasbourg, the seat of the European parliament, lost its status as regional capital when merged with other regions.
 
In the end he got his way, much to the anger of deputies from Champagne-Ardenne.
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