Posted by: kathandroger | March 23, 2014

Election day

A big day for us today – we have exercised our democratic  right in France for the first time since we moved here. It has been polling day for the local elections – les municipales – where local communities and towns and cities elect their mayors and local councillors. We registered before Christmas and our cards came though the post a couple of weeks back, allowing us to vote in local and European elections, so off we trotted to the polling stations (the Mairie) this morning. The first slightly odd discovery was that the election officers are the outgoing members of the council, most of who are standing again. Seems a bit odd to me that the vote is managed by the people you are voting for! The system is a bit different to the one we are used to where you typically have a choice of candidates to vote for. Here, there is a list, or several lists and you vote for the entire list. However in many small communities like ours, there is only one list…so the choice is not difficult to make. I was a bit perplexed as to what to do, so asked for instructions. Turns out you go into the booth, fold up your paper, pop it into a little envelope and post it into a box. The only way of making a choice is to cross out a name of someone you don’t want to be on the council and if that individual is crossed out on enough papers they are removed from the list. Talking to the locals that has never actually happened in St Remy. So, it doesn’t really feel that we have had the chance to exercise our democratic right, although whether that is the fault of the system or the lack of interest on the part of the residents in putting themselves forward is debatable.

Whilst our little election is not political, in the bigger towns and cities it certainly is. One very important feature that is already becoming clear is that Le Front National has made big strides on the local scene for the first time. Another worrying step towards making the FN a mainstream ‘acceptable’ party…


  1. So you can alter the list in a single list commune?

    Like you we were surprised to see our friendly local encumbents acting as scrutineers as well as almost all being up for election again.

    The news media are carrying on like raw prawns about the FN, but the percentages are really fairly small. I agree one has to keep an eye on them though.

  2. Seemingly in communes under 1000 you can ‘rayer’ a person on the list. If we’d had 2 lists it would appear that we could have moved people from list to list!
    I find the FN situation alarming. Le Pen has become mainstream and with the PS and UMP in self destruct mode it is dangerous…

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