French diaspora in Puducherry vote for representatives to European Parliament

The Consulate had made elaborate arrangements for its 4,546 French citizens in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the Union Territory on the electoral roll

Updated - June 10, 2024 01:07 pm IST

Published - June 09, 2024 11:52 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

Citizens entering the French Consulate in Puducherry to exercise their franchise on Sunday.

Citizens entering the French Consulate in Puducherry to exercise their franchise on Sunday. | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

From “Frexit” calls of the far right and rejection of the neo-liberal policies in favour of returning to a radical left vision anchored in labour welfare, market protectionism and social security, to anti-war manifestos and fundamental freedom guarantees, a host of issues were on the ballot as overseas French citizens voted to choose their representatives to the European Parliament to help shape the agenda for the next five years.

The quinquennial process to elect 720 members of the European Parliament (MEPs), a legislative arm of the European Union, a 27-nation bloc of 450 million citizens, was scheduled worldwide between June 6 and 9.

On Sunday, overseas French voters in the region exercised their franchise under the auspices of the French Consulate to elect 81 MEPs at polling stations in Puducherry (two), Chennai (one) and Karaikal (one).

Allocated 81 seats

According to the French Consulate here, for the 2024 elections, France had been allocated 81 seats (79 in 2019) out of the 720 seats (705 in 2019) in the European Parliament. French MEPs are elected in a single constituency covering the entire world.

The final day of the electoral process was earmarked for French citizens registered on the electoral roll in mainland France, and in particular, Asia to exercise their franchise in the country of their residence.

The Consulate had made elaborate arrangements for its 4,546 French citizens in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the Union Territory on the electoral roll. Polling took place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lise Talbot Barré, French Consul General, who cast her vote here also supervised the electoral process.

This year, candidates from 38 different political parties are taking part in the European elections.

Poll pitch

The campaign statements of the parties ranged from getting out of NATO wars, exiting the EU, and forging a new European treaty drafted by a citizens’ convention to rejecting the supranational agreement proposed by the World Health Organisation on the pandemic.

Foregrounding environmental protection and defending fundamental freedoms were among the campaign issues. Some parties focused their campaign on the rejection of federalisation, any further enlargement of the EU, and the establishment of a referendum for all major decisions. There were also calls for “protecting children from the ideology of wokism”, limiting access to new technologies such as AI, and cracking down on trafficking rings of all kinds. One of the parties even called for adopting Esperanto as the official language in the EU bloc.

The last time elections were held here were in April and June 2022, when the Consulate General and the Bureau de France in Chennai, with the support of the local authorities, organised an election to elect the President of the French Republic and their deputies to the National Assembly respectively, the Consulate said.

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