Monday, 24 April 2017

French politics has apparently

seen a seismic shift away from the major parties. 
At this hour in the morning Downunder it looks as if the French will be heading to a run off vote between Macron and Le Pen. It won't matter who wins out of those two. They will  need to work with a hostile government and they will leave the country divided. I don't envy the French.
What puzzles me though is the number of people outside France who can vote in the election. I don't mean those people who live in the French territories like Noumea but those who live in places like Downunder.
Last week a friend here flew to Canberra. He timed an important meeting so he could also vote - and yes he timed the meeting so he could go and vote. He hasn't set foot on French soil for the last how many years and has no intention of ever going back - but he voted in the French election. He will vote in the next one too. He sees it as his right. 
Perhaps it is. I know he isn't the only one to feel that way. I know other people who vote in elections for their home countries, people who have no intention of ever returning. They still want to shape the future of the country they left.  
The French Embassy has apparently said they are expecting at least 15,000 French to vote in Downunder. In a tight race even that many could make a difference. I wonder if it has made a difference in other elections, whether people who don't live in a country and ultimately won't be affected by the outcome will make a decision that affects others. 
The electoral boundaries here have just been redrawn. We are now in a "new" electorate. I missed an opportunity to meet one of the candidates recently. I hope I meet her soon. I knew my old Federal candidate well and I have met the new one. I need to meet the person who is likely to represent me at state level. To me this is important as I want to know not just what policies they will supposedly support but what sort of person they are in themselves.
It seems most people never bother. There is research to suggest they vote the same way all their lives. Do people who vote from outside their country of birth for elections in their country of birth do the same? Or, are they people who take a genuine interest in politics?
It is difficult enough to vote here. The responsibility weighs heavily on me. I look at the policies. I look at the candidates. How on earth do people do it from outside the country?

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

I like to meet my local candidates and representatives too, especially in public places. I like to observe how they respond to all sorts of people and different issues that people bring. Of course, when they are electioneering they are all smiles and eager to please but when a 'career polititian' style candidate says they were unaware of an election issue that has been on the table for years, even decades, it makes me wonder what they have been doing all that time and whether they really care. It shows that their party doesn't care because it hasn't bothered to brief their candidate(s) properly. You only find out these things by meeting them personally and having conversations.