Political consciousness

Like many of the fellow-citizens of my age, I am quite cynical about politics... So I was therefore very concerned with the second round turnout of the presidential elections which occurred this Sunday.

As a matter of fact, after the first round, two weeks ago, the British journalists were praising France rejuvenated democratic engagement. Over 83% of the French voting population had indeed participated in the selection of the two finalists. And everyone was expecting similar figures for the second round.

Personally I would have bet on the contrary.

Shame on your ballot

First, because the reason why people turned up en masse for the first round was not due to a great passion for politics, but to shame. Five years ago, for the previous presidential elections, people decided not to vote. They were fed up with politics, always the same rivalries and fruitless debates... Only a fringe of the population stayed loyal to their political engagement: the nationalists. The same number of pro Jean-Mare LePen dropped their ballot in the box, while the other democratic counter-powers did not manage to create sufficient enthusiasm. And as a result, LePen made his way to the second round, with a proportionally greater-than-ever score. Mass demonstrations occurred to back democracy and the values of the République, and Chirac gathered over 80% of the so call "republican" votes during the second round.

Like the raven in LaFontaine's fable, the French population, "A bit too late, swore, The rogue should never cheat him more". Voters remembered the 2002 events and managed to relegate LePen in the lower part of the tables (still managing to a worrying 10% score). But with a more classical, an politically-correct, second round opposing La Droite to La Gauche (The Right to the Left), would people turn up now that they eased their conscious?

On the beach or in the voting offices?

As mentioned earlier, I sincerely doubted, especially since this week-end is the ideal period to practice your "bridging" skills. Tuesday being a public holiday, people could have been tempted to enjoy a 4-day week-end. But in fact, this Sunday turnout has been quite a surprise to me: almost 84% of the voters dropped their envelope in the transparent box. So, no matter how cynical I can be, I am glad that the trend got confirmed. There might be something happening at last in our country. And for once, that is not related to some outstanding sport performance... Although as you may have read in this blog, voting can be quite a physical challenge.

So let's wait and see. Don't worry, not too long. We are indeed like that in France, when we enjoy something, we just take it until the end: early June we are back in the queues to drop another lot of ballots. This time we will be electing our representatives at the Assemblée Nationale (French parliament)... And so goes the political life in the Hexagon.

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