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Expats would vote Sarkozy back in

Matthew Warren · 5 Apr 2012, 10:22

Published: 05 Apr 2012 10:22 GMT+02:00

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A new poll shows that French expats are more likely to support President Sarkozy than his Socialist rival, François Hollande.


The poll, carried out for lepetitjournal.com and international TV channel TV5 Monde, found Sarkozy would get 37 percent of first round votes from expats.

Hollande would come second with 27 percent while the centrist François Bayrou would get 13 percent. 

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon would get 8 percent and far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen 7 percent.

The voting intentions of expats contrast strongly with French people living in France.

The latest polls put Hollande and Sarkozy almost neck and neck in the first round of voting on around 27-28 percent.

In a second round of voting, which is held if no candidate gets more than 50 percent in the first round, 51 percent of expats would vote for Sarkozy, just giving him victory.

This compares to the 54 percent who are currently predicted to choose Hollande.

Hervé Heyraud, founder of lepetitjournal.com, said that the expat vote is "traditionally more conservative and free market supporting."

However, Sarkozy's share of the vote has slipped since the last election in 2007, when he managed 55 percent of second round votes against his Socialist rival, Ségolène Royal.

French media has been talking to some of the many expats who are eligible to vote. Over one million French citizens living abroad have signed up to the electoral roll.

Peggy Saniani, a French woman living in London, writes that she moved to London for "a new life and to seize new opportunities."

London is one of the most popular destinations for French expats, with over 400,000 living there. It is even referred to as France's sixth largest city.

Saniani finds much to criticise in her adoptive city, criticising "lamentable" public transport and, in her view, an inferior health system. 

Yet she is frustrated by a French election campaign that seems to focus on trivial issues such as halal meat, rather than important matters such as jobs, education and health.

Daily newspaper 20 Minutes spoke to a number of French expats.

Gabriel in Australia said he found the media coverage of the election "pathetic".

Agnès in Canada has a similar view.

"France is reduced to being a pathetic country," she says, citing "Sarkozy's actions concerning Libya, growing verbal violence and the strength of the extreme right."

One expat who will not be supporting the president is Paul, in Peru.

"I would have a hard time understanding a reelection of Sarkozy," he says. "He was one of the reasons I left the country, particularly for his repressive policies. I don't think I'll be coming back if he gets back in."


Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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