In the 5th arrondissement of the French residing abroad, the campaign was complicated by distances … and the presence of Manuel Valls

Of the 577 deputies in the National Assembly, 11 represent French people living abroad. Traditionally, suffrage does not mobilize our citizens living abroad: in 2017, only 16% of registered voters voted in the first round of legislative elections, which is three times less than the national average.

>> How does online voting work, and is it available to French people living abroad?

Hence the importance of interviewing voters for the candidates. In the fifth electoral district, which covers Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Monaco, Laurent Guateur is running under the Republican banner. Between two meetings in Barcelona, ​​the candidate makes his calculations: 5,000 kilometers traveled by car, about fifty meetings. “On average, my constituents are 1,500 kilometers away from where I livehe explains. For the last 3 weeks of the campaign I was going to spend 2 nights in my bed!

Laurent Goater, LR candidate in the 5th constituency for French Living Abroad, in Barcelona at the end of May 2022 (SEBASTIEN BAER / FRANCEINFO / RADIO FRANCE)

Among the topics covered: taxes, pensions, teaching abroad, consular issues… “Residents expect the MP to solve local problems.” Meetings are sometimes held in front of about fifty French expatriates, but sometimes help is very little: “I’ve had a few meetings with only one person! Well, in the end, it’s so much funAs Laurent Guatere says, Because you have time to devote yourself to that person. She will tell you everything that happens in her town, which I can’t do when there are 40 people.”

It’s not easy to travel across four countries, explains Robin Fontaine, 25, a representative of the small citizen movement Volt. In any case, he only has a limited budget: 1050 euros for the entire campaign. “We chose to travel by bus and train. We are fortunate to have a party that is also in Spain and Portugal, so when I traveled there I was staying with people, which made the costs of the campaign lower.”

Professor at the French High School in Barcelona, ​​Renaud Le Berry was invested in by the new Popular, Environmental and Social Union of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. To save themselves from tiring and expensive trips to the islands, the candidate multiplies remote meetings: “It affects more people than public meetings. We have time to talk, ask questions, and prepare well for a particular topic. We record our meetings, which we can replay on networks. These videoconferencing is absolutely essential.”

Renaud Le Berre, candidate for NUpes in the 5th district of French citizens living abroad, in Barcelona at the end of May 2022 (SEBASTIEN BAER / FRANCEINFO / RADIO FRANCE)

200 kilometers from Barcelona, ​​the tiny principality of Andorra with a population of 3,500 French is also a must. On that day, Stefan Vojta, the outgoing deputy of the LREM party, went door to door, despite the storm and rain. The candidate, who was not invested by the presidential party, gained some support for the cultural center and took the opportunity to settle accounts with the person who regained the nomination from La République en Marche: “I have lived in Spain for 18 years. I know that if Mr. Valls has a good reputation, he also has a problem with his image and popularity. If I am subject to this election, I am a deputy, not become a minister or president or whatever. I want to become effective deputy.

Catherine, 75, who has lived in Andorra for 35 years, really wonders about Manuel Valls: What shocked me about him was that he said ‘I’m Catalan, these are my origins’ in Barcelona, ​​and then ‘You know France is my whole life’…This aspect of ‘I say what it takes to please’ has challenged me. If elected, would he do what he said? This is the question everyone is asking.

And the person hoping to profit from this sibling duel between Manuel Valls and Stefan Vojta is Nicolas Chamox, the candidate of the Reconquest Party! Written by Eric Zemmour. “The parachute landing of Manuel Valls and the retention of outgoing MP Stefan Voeta as a defector completely reshuffled the cards.”Calculates. In fact, there will be voices streaming from the macaroni camp. It opens the door to a real possibility that we will reach the second round.”

Legislative: Fifth Circuit for French Residents Abroad – Sebastien Baer Report

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