French expats cast vote in a poll rich with possibilities

Published - July 07, 2024 09:47 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

French citizens in the city voted in the second round of Parliamentary elections on Sunday.

French citizens in the city voted in the second round of Parliamentary elections on Sunday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The French diaspora in the city joined mainland peers on Sunday to cast their vote in the second and final round of a crucial and keenly-watched Parliamentary elections.

The surprise polls were called after the French President Emmanuel Macron decreed dissolution of the Parliament in the immediate wake of the European Parliament election results on June 9 that saw his Renaissance party-led centrist alliance suffer a drubbing at the hands of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally.

For the registered 4,546 French citizens on the electoral rolls in the region of Puducherry, Tamilnadu and Kerala, the field for Sunday’s run-off elections has narrowed down to two candidates---Franck Pajot of the Socialist Party and Anne Genetet from Mr. Macron’s Ensemble centrist alliance.

They were the two candidates to poll the most votes during the first round with a 15-party fray. The first round was essentially a triangular contest essentially between the ruling Renaissance-led centrist coalition, the far-right National Rally led by Marine Le Pen and the New Popular Front alliance of left, far-left and green parties.

While Mr. Pajot, the candidate of the left-wing New Popular Front alliance, secured 61.69% of votes polled in round one, Ms. Genetet polled a distant second place with 12.08% votes.

According to Consular officials, those who skipped voting in the first round on June 30 can still cast votes in the second round. The precise figures on the turnout will only be available on Monday as voting is being allowed in person, by proxy and online modes, they added.

French voters in India fall under the largest (a bloc of 49 countries) of the 11 constituencies earmarked for overseas citizens to exercise their franchise.

The voting facilities were arranged by the French Consulate at polling stations in its premises and the French Institute of Pondicherry apart from one station each in Chennai and Karaikal. The arrangements, overseen by Lise Talbot Barré, Consul General of France in Puducherry, were put in place in collaboration with the support of the Bureau de France in Chennai and local authorities.

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