The French started their election before the UK
French Presidential Candidates
I have just received a very thick envelope from the French Embassy. It contains a 4-page document for each of the 11 candidates for the French Presidential election. The first round is this Sunday (April 23rd, 2017). The top two candidates will go to a second round (May 7th, 2017) as it is very unlikely that a candidate will get 50% of the vote + 1 on the first round. None of the seven previous presidents of the 5th Republic (the current) were elected during the first round. The closest to do it were General Charles de Gaulle in 1958 (close to 45%) and François Mitterrand in 1974 (over 43%).
How you can be a Presidential Candidate
To be a candidate is quite difficult: you must be sponsored by 500 elected persons. These elected persons must originate from at least 30 départements (counties) or overseas entities (territories and départements). No more than 10% of them must come from a single département or overseas entity. It’s remarkable that 6 of the 11 candidates have already been candidates in the previous presidential campaign, 5 years ago. These are Arthaud, Cheminade, Dupont-Aignan, Le Pen (Marine’s father, whom she kicked out of his own party has also been a candidate), Mélanchon, Poutou. Some people have had several presidential candidacies. The most persistent candidates are Arlette Laguiller (6 times) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (5 times, as well as his daughter, candidate for the second time).
French Voters Abroad
The number of French electors registered in the UK is increasing all the time: over 140,000 for the latest published figures (only Switzerland-with 180,00- and the USA have more (158,000). In fact, since 2012, 11 MPs have been elected to represent the 1.8 million French citizens registered abroad throughout the world. The French MP for the UK also covers Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania! By comparison, the biggest constituency by electorate to the UK parliaments is the Isle of Wight (some 109,000).
The French electors based in the UK are noticeably younger than the ones in France (some 7 years younger). For the presidential elections, you must be 18 to vote (or to be elected) and you must have French citizenship. However, you can lose the right to vote for several reasons (for instance, if you are declared by a court of having serious mental problems). After having been found guilty of a serious crime by a tribunal, you may also be deprived of your electoral rights, forever or temporarily. This includes crime, theft, fraud, violation of trust, perjury, corruption, personal bankruptcy, influence peddling and forgery (if jailed for over 3 months). There are more women electors than men and they tend to vote in greater numbers.
No Internet Voting
We received another email from the French Embassy, a few weeks ago, informing us that voting on the Internet will not be allowed this time around for French electors based abroad. The high level of activities by hackers (notably Russians) makes it too insecure.
It makes you think..what happened in the USA?
The first round is predicted to be very close. However, the French pollsters have not been very accurate in the last few years and anything could happen. In fact, they are almost as bad as the British polling organisations. Remember when we went to bed being told that Remain had won and we woke up with Brexit as winner?!!!
We live in interesting times…