How can the French authorities inspire and organise 1 million of their overseas citizens to vote in national elections but not the British with their own?
For the first time, French citizens who live abroad will be able to vote for an MP to represent them in the Assemblée Nationale.
There are an estimated 2.5 million French people living abroad, and more than 1 million of them have registered to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“French people increasingly go to live and work abroad and they don’t have a political representation. They have a partial one in the senate. But I live in the European Union; I’m a citizen. I work here, I pay my taxes and I don’t get to elect an MP in parliament,” said Axelle Lemaire, the London-based Socialist party candidate for the 3rd constituency, “northern Europe”, an area stretching from Greenland to the Baltic states via Britain, where 80% of its voters are based.
“It’s not because you leave the country that you don’t participate anymore to the economy,” said Olivier Cadic, a Canterbury-based businessman who is one of 20 candidates running in the 3rd constituency, where nearly 90,000 people are registered to vote. The former UMP member, who is running on a centrist platform, argues that many expatriates still pay tax in France and work for French companies, and deserve more of a say. “When we look at the people who have changed France,” he added, “in fact they were people who did that from abroad, like Voltaire, or Victor Hugo or like Charles de Gaulle.”