Thursday, April 26, 2012

elections: how France does it

Disclaimer: I do not pretend to be an expert on French elections, nor do I know exactly or anything really about what I'm talking about, so if you want the real skinny on the French election, maybe you should look here, here, and/or here


While normally I abstain from talking about politics, religion, or any other hot button topics on my blog, mostly because I believe in keeping this a warm fuzzy kind of place and that there is a time and a place for such things, today we're going to talk about the French elections a little bit, mostly because I think it's interesting (and important) to learn how other governments work, and what other countries are up to, and thought I'd share a little about what's been happening over here in the land of wine and cheese.

Late last week The Husband received a large brown envelope in the post. Inside were brochures for the ten Presidential candidates and individual slips of paper for each with their names printed on them (and I apologize because I had planned on laying them all out and taking pictures but sometimes laziness gets the better of me).

{the original ten candidates from left to right above}

There is Nicolas Sarkozy, the reigning President of France since 2007 (French presidents sit for five years instead of four), and member of the Union for Popular Movement Party. Nicolas is also married to former model Carla Bruni (well done there Nicolas).

Next up we have François Hollande representing the Socialist Party who stepped in for Dominique Strauss-Kahn who remains firmly on the naughty list.

There's Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Front (does anyone remember that old General Foods International Coffee commercial from forever and day ago where two girls are reminiscing about a trip to Paris and one of them shouts, "Jean-Luc!", well every time I hear this guy's name on the news, that's what I think about.) This guy is a 'militant socialist'. I think he should wear a red shirt à la Hugo Chavez and call it a day.

That blonde stern looking lady is Marine Le Pen of the National Front party. She's managed to sugarcoat her anti-immigration stance with this slogan, "French citizenship should be either inherited or merited". Basically Madame Le Pen wants to keep France French, and I get that, but we don't need to be such a Nazi about it, do we? (pun intended). And on a side note, The Husband, Gatz, and I had a chuckle the other day about the fact that out of the three of us, I'm the only one with a French last name (Gatz's is Italian, The Husband's is Swedish, and mine is from Normandy), so I say we kick those two bozos out and hand me my French citizenship card stat.

Under Sarkozy is François Bayrou from the Democratic Movement party. He's considered the 'great centrist' of French politics, so his views put him somewhere between Sarkozy and Hollande.

Next is Nicolas Dupont-Aignan who represents Arise the Republic, a party that he founded himself (I like that initiative Nicolas).

Then we have Eva Joly of the Green Party who is very easy to remember because normally she wears these horrid bright green glasses making her look as Kristin said, like something out of Harry Potter.

And finally, the last three; Nathalie Arthaud of Workers' Struggle, Jacques Cheminade of Solidarity and Progress, and Philippe Poutou from the New Anti-capitalist Party (frankly I think some of these party names could use a little work, a little magical PR touch if you will).

So last Sunday was voting day, and the way it works is, you go to your local mairie (town hall) and put one of the slips of paper that you received in the post into the ballot box. C'est tout!

After voting, we all had lunch at Papa's house and discussed. Everyone sitting at the table had voted for someone else (except for La Petite because she's only one, and me because although I am married to a Frenchman, and am a EU citizen thanks to Ireland, I haven't looked into all the hullabaloo into becoming a French citizen because this being the nation of red tape, I can't even begin to fathom the hullabaloo involved).

One voted for Sarkozy but admitted that originally they were voting for François Bayrou but switched because they didn't think Francois Bayrou had a hope in hell (imagine if everyone thought that way).

One did actually vote for François Bayrou.

One voted for François Hollande.

One voted for Marine Le Pen (maybe I should look into that French citizen hullabaloo in case this person wants to kick my American, Irish, non-French butt out of the country... although I should remind them, that my name does hail from Normandy so back the F off).

And one did a vote blanc which means that they were choosing, none of the above.

Now, if one of the ten candidates had received over 50% of the vote, they would have won the whole kit and kaboodle and game over, but since that didn't happen, the two candidates with the most votes, in this case Sarkozy and Hollande, will now face off in a final vote on the 6th of May and that will be that.

I hope you have all enjoyed your French civics lesson.
There will be a quiz.

(no there won't be)

bisou
 

32 comments:

  1. I can't vote here in France, and not at all specialist but I was horrified that so many people voted Le Pen! And Sarkozy, oh my... I'm sad to see that Mrs. Joly's(green party) campaign wasnt good, like wise in Finland they were on second round. I'm disappointed to French people.

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  2. Good analysis :) I have NO idea who to vote for in the second round. I wanted Nicolas Hulot, but he didn't even make it to the first round thanks to those horrible green glasses...

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  3. I would definitely rather follow this election than ours...do the French make mean, vicious TV commercials like they do here? That's the worst! : )

    I do love learning about governments, so this is really interesting!

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  4. I am fascinated by the two rounds the French use to elect their Presidents and especially the fact that there is little time between the two rounds.

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  5. Frankly I think it would have been much more entertaining if DSK had not been silly in the US and was the PS candidate. Sarkozy had a plan up his sleeve to spill the beans on DSK's little weaknesses and it would have been such fun.

    As it is, we've got the Old Granny Hollande who says he won't live in the Elysée Palace if he gets in (probs cos he'd get lost) but would live in a flat like everyone else. Except that as prez you are NOT like everyone else, you have to act like a prez and be in the right place so people know where to find out, and not have to look you up in the Pages Blanches and use Google maps to you! I bet the rottweiller will talk him out of that silliness, she'll be wanting to have as much fun as poss as the missus.

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    1. This reads a bit rubbishy cos I've got pommade in my eyes and can't see my way out of a paper bag.

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  6. Sara, darling. You make it all so clear. I keep getting myself caught in the middle of heated political battles and they're so hot and furious, I can't make head nor tail of it. Now I AM ready for the quiz. Frankly, if Hollande wins and taxes the rich at 75%, you KNOW there's no way I'm going to be able to stay! :)

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    1. No, it was a joke. Having too much money is definitely not one of my problems!

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  7. The entire thing is just so much more civilized over here. It feels calm and respectful. AND 80% of the French actually voted! I think it's barely 50% in the states...which is so embarrassing. The crazy bit is that 20% of people voted for Le Pen!! Anyways, I loved your civics lesson and thanks for the shout out!!

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  8. Do keep an eye on all that red tape crap about living in France, even as the wife of a Swedish Frenchman. There are some incredibly complex regulations recently about limits on times that can be spent outside of France that I haven't bothered to understand since I don't live there. But I've read about it from another expat.

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    1. Thankfully, as a citizen of the EU, I don't have to worry about any of that. Happy days!

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  9. Wow... that seems like it would be really easy to alter the vote? But I think people somehow manage to alter the vote no matter how advanced the technology is, so there you go.
    I do think that it's so interesting to learn about how other countries do things. This seems so much less complex than our system.

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  10. Bravo Sara!! For being interested and interesting in French politics!! Lots of work, and your post is witty and funny! You're a good expat, I'd say!

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  11. Girl you are hilarious! I really enjoyed this post and I'm so glad you commented on my blog today. I hope you are following since I am definitely following you and can't wait to read more. Your blog is great!
    www.winetastegirl.com

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  12. That was excellent! I had no idea who was who part from the Le Pen woman, I'm such a bitch but I'm wondering will Carla dump Sarkosy once he's just an ordinary Jean Bloggs?

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  13. Very good post...you've covered all the important bits :-). We're actually paying close attention to this election because a) we're moving there in 22 days (yikes) and b) I'm planning to start a small business shortly after we get there. It was under Sarkozy that the auto-entrepreneur scheme (for small businesses - pay tax once you earn) came in, and we are worried that Hollande will do away with it. Even though I, too, am an EU resident now, thanks to my The Husband (a Brit) and 11 years in Ireland, I am wondering what hoops the French will want me to jump through for my carte de sejour. That nearly 20% for the lovely Ms Le Pen is worrying, too,

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  14. i am so glad you posted about this election! i am ever so curious about what has been going on over there in the land of wine and cheese, as you call it ;), and it was neat to get your personal take on the candidates!

    xo, amanda

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  15. I think it's funny that everyone at the dinner party had voted for a different candidate. Sounds like the French elections work a lot differently than in the U.S. It's always interesting when you tell something about "how France works." :) Great post.

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  16. Well I know who I'm hoping for but mainly I'm hoping that the immigration laws do not become tighter...

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  17. Fred's been trying to teach me how this goes for the past 22 years. It took me 4 minutes to read your post and I finally get it.
    m.

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  18. Ooooh I bet you totally opened a can of worms with this political post and I cannot wait to see what (hopefully) intellectually stimulating things are said!

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  19. Such an improvement on our system. I can't stand the thought of 6 more months of all the silly politicing and stupid TV ads. Our governor would like to be Veep, so is running - I'm sorry, a PAC that likes him, but with which he has no contact and over which he has not control [election laws, you know] - "look how great I am" ads in hope of attracting notice.

    Here we are with people struggling to make ends meet, and these PACs are spending millions - MILLIONS - on stupid self-aggrandizing ads. Gee, webb, why don't you say what you think?

    Anyway, a great post and highly enlightening!

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  20. This makes me realize I should probably try and learn the littlest bit about the operations of Germany since I know ZERO.

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  21. VERY interesting, good job buddy. i actually read all of that.. probably more than i have read about the upcoming 2012 primaries here in the states. dang. anywho, happy weekend!!

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  22. Hey I really enjoyed that lesson! Very interesting. I love that it's just good old fashioned putting a slip of paper in a box.

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  23. This is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. Ever. I had no idea. I knew Marine was Buchanan and of course Sarkozy is cozy and Hollande is an 'outsider' but the rest? You are smart, smart, smart. Thank ou my Normandy friend.
    A

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  24. Go Tricky Nicky Sixx! Also, you're memed. Boom.

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  25. This was interesting - I don't usually like reading about politics and I tend to tune out but I read this all the way through, thanks Sara :)

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  26. 10 candidates! that's way too much for me.....i would have failed the quiz.

    but the best part is heading over to papa's house for lunch after le voting ;-)

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  27. Very informative! We have an election coming up too.. what a mess. Seems kinda like one of those reality shows sometimes..

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