As many of you must know, yesterday was the first turn of the French Presidential elections. As a French citizen and to be able to vote despite the fact that I am living in Mexico, I followed the procedure to register me before the end of 2016 on the electoral lists of the French Consulate in Mexico. Sometimes, I heard around me this type of comment from French people: “Well, I cannot vote as I am in Mexico.” Since when a French citizen couldn’t vote under the pretext that he is living abroad?
Actually, the process is pretty simple and takes less than 30 minutes on line to register you on the Consular list. And I even don’t talk about the possibility to vote by proxy. So, is it by laziness that some French don’t vote under the pretext that they live abroad? Or worst, is it because they lost interest in French politic? When you leave your home country to live somewhere else, do you forget where you come from? I cannot stand that.
In Montréal, the number of French who went to vote was so huge that at the closing hour of the polling station, there was still a human line of one kilometer outside waiting to vote. The French Consul had to request an exceptional derogation to maintain the polling station open and to extend its juridical and physical perimeter for people outside to be considered as present in the official perimeter of the polling place. This example proves that yes, it is totally possible to vote even if you live abroad.
In the case of Monterrey where I live, in the state of Nuevo Leon, many Frenches who went to vote were not from Monterrey itself: some were living in Saltillo, Torreon…other cities all around which had Monterrey as closest polling station. Actually, 6 offices were opened to vote throughout the country from 8 am to 7 pm:
The General French Consulate in Mexico City
The French school in Mexico City
The Alliance Française in Guadalajara
The French Consular Agency in Monterrey
The Alliance Française in Puebla
The Alliance Française in Querétaro
It seems to be hard in those conditions to state that French people living in Mexico didn’t have the possibility to vote.
I am coming to the conclusion that the main reason of not voting is by disinterest. Living abroad may create a distance more than geographical with your home country. Some people totally adopt the culture of the country where they are living and sometimes it’s at the expense of their first own culture. Where is the appropriate balance? I couldn’t consider one second to forget my roots because they are part of my identity and I strongly think that we can adapt to a new country and a new culture without having to sacrifice our own customs. By travelling, by confronting ourselves to other cultures and other values, we may become more critic regarding our home country. However, is it a reason to reject this last one?
In my daily life in Mexico, each day is a challenge to adapt me in the best possible way, but in my heart, I remain more than ever French. I would even say that I feel more strongly French since I live abroad.
Regarding the results, this is the candidate of the new political movement “En Marche” (center) Emmanuel Macron, and the candidate of the “Front National” (extreme right) Marine Le Pen, who have been selected for the second turn which will take place in two weeks. I didn’t miss any step of the results yesterday as I was constantly connected to the direct of BFM TV, a French News channel.
Here is the repartition of how French electors voted in Mexico:
Emmanuel MACRON : 40.88%
François FILLON : 28.91%
Jean-Luc MELENCHON : 17.40%
Benoit HAMONT : 5.22%
Marine Le Pen : 4.67%
François ASSELINEAU : 1.10%
Nicolas DUPONT AIGNAN : 0.77%
Philippe POUTOU : 0.39%
Jean LASSALE : 0.33%
Nathalie ARTHAUD : 0.15%
Jacques CHEMINADE : 0.13%
It’s good to see that here, not that many Frenches voted for Marine Le Pen who embodies anger, racism, and extremism.
Nothing is won yet. Let’s talk about it in two weeks.
And you? Have you already lived abroad in a context of elections in your home country? If you have ever lived abroad, how do you feel regarding the local culture and your own culture?