French expats to get their own MP

French citizens living as expats across northern Europe will for the first time be given the chance to elect their own member of parliament in the upcoming elections, in one of 11 new expat constituencies.

French expats to get their own MP
David Monniaux

The new member of parliament will sit in Paris and take responsibility for French citizens residing in the recently established constituency comprising the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

“I think it is great that we will have a representative in the French parliament,” long-term Stockholm resident Hervé Pasquier told The Local.

“I hope it will improve communication between Paris, the embassy and French people living here,” he added.

It is expected however that London’s substantial French population will be the decisive voice in the choice of candidate to represent a constituency which spans some 4 million square kilometres.

Of the 20 candidates who have registered for the post, nine are based in London which is home to some 300,000-400,000 exile French, according to figures published by the BBC.

“All of the main parties have chosen candidates based in London,” said Philippe Marlière, professor of French and European politics at University College London to the British broadcaster.

“It’s going to be a London contest,” he added.

The French parliament has long had representatives from French overseas territories but 2012 marks the first time that its expat population will be offered representation.

French citizens living abroad already have the right to vote in both the presidential and parliamentary elections but many choose not to take part and the change is hope to adress this situation.

The Northern Europe consituency is one of 11 new expat constituencies with others including Spain and Portugal, East Africa, South America and North America.

The French electorate goes to the polls on June 10th in the first round of the parliamentary elections.

The second round of voting will take place on June 17th.

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‘I’ve lost my eyebrows – but not my political ambition’, says France’s ex PM

France's former prime minister Edouard Philippe, a leading contender to succeed President Emmanuel Macron in 2027 elections, has opened up about a hair loss condition he says will not diminish his political ambition.

'I've lost my eyebrows - but not my political ambition', says France's ex PM

The 52-year-old politician, who spearheaded the government’s fight against the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, was a familiar face on television with his trademark brown beard.

Since leaving the post in the summer of 2020 and working as mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, his appearance has drastically changed with his hair and beard thinning and turning white suddenly.

“This is what had happened to me: I lost my eyebrows, and I don’t think they will come back,” he told BFMTV in an interview late Thursday.

“My beard has turned white, it’s falling out a bit and the hair too.

“The moustache is gone, I don’t know if it will come back, but I would be surprised,” he said.

“I have what is called alopecia,” he added, opening up about the auto-immune condition that accelerates hair loss.

He said the condition was “not painful, dangerous, contagious or serious”.

Philippe’s wry and avuncular style proved popular with many French and some speculated that his high approval ratings had caused tensions with Macron, with replaced him as Prime Minister in the summer of 2020.

Philippe now regularly tops polls of France’s most-loved and most-trusted politicians. 

He has now founded a new centrist party called Horizons that is allied with Macron’s ruling faction but also unafraid of showing an independent streak.

Some analysts see Philippe as an obvious potential successor to Macron, who must leave office after serving the maximum two terms in 2027.

And Philippe insisted that his condition would not stand in the way of his political plans.

“That doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my city,” he said referring to Le Havre.

Tellingly, he added: “It doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my country.”

With France buffeted by strikes and protests as the government seeks to push through landmark pension reform, Philippe gave his full backing to Macron for the changes.

He said he supported the changes “without ambiguity, without any bad note or any other kind of little complication”.