I know, it’s been a while. Nonetheless I feel I should share with you my experience of voting for the first time in the French Presidential and Legislative elections. Although my fellow (French) countryman might gripe about how the system is broken, I have to say that the experience I have had of French democracy is far more satisfying than the first-past-the-post system of electing misgovernment in the UK.

The obvious bonus here is that you get to vote twice. The first round, in theory, is when you should vote for the person who best represents your political views. To which end, there is usually a wide choice of candidates to choose from, one extremity to the other. The second round involves a straight binary choice between the two candidates who got the most votes in the first round. This means that some people vote tactically in the first round for the person who they think has the best chance in the second round (and could stomach). Of course if the second round candidates don’t reflect much more than 50% of votes cast in the first (as was the case this year in the presidential elections) the public feels somewhat robbed.

In April I voted for Jadot of the Greens (EELV) for President in the first round and then Macron in the second.

The legislative elections are fast approaching however, and I have yet to make up my mind who to vote for. Here’s a list of the parties and candidates standing in my local circonscription (constituency):

  • Lutte ouvrière (The Trotsky Party): Louise FÈVE
  • Résistons! (The Let’s Misbehave! Party) : Yamina GROSJEAN
  • Independent: Jamal ROUCHDI
  • Reconquête ! (The We Love Eric Party) : Elena CHRISTMANN
  • Europe Ecologie-Les Verts-Nupes (The Greenwashed Alliance of Rebel-Socialists): Sandra REGOL
  • Régionalistes (The Local Party, for Local People): Stéphanie KARMANN
  • Independent : Sylvain COURCOUX
  • Extrême gauche (The Very Lefty Party) : Elisa BLACHE
  • La République en marche-Ensemble (Macron’s Party): Alain FONTANEL
  • Parti animaliste (The Cat and Dog Party) : Lionel SAUNER
  • Rassemblement national (The Not-Quite Nazis Party): Tamara VOLOKHOVA
  • dissident PS hors accord Nupes (The Socialist who wants nothing to do with the Greenwashed Alliance of Pseudo-Socialists Party): Éric ELKOUBY
  • Independent: Albéric BARRET
  • Divers gauche (The Somewhat Socialist Party) : Jérémy GOVI
  • Independent : Frédéric SEIGLE-MURANDI
  • divers écologistes (The Ecological Party): Nawal HAFED
  • Les Républicains (The Petrolhead Party): Audrey ROZENHAFT

Okay, so maybe I’ve added a minor editorial slant to my translations of the parties the candidates represent, but I’m just try to help you understand what these people are all about.

Under normal circumstances I would have voted for the EELV candidate (REGNOL), however the party has decided to ‘join forces’ with JL Melanchon’s populist Rebel Party in a pact with various diverse lesser parties including the Communist Party and regional separatist parties under the acronym ‘NUPES’. Prior to this event, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the EELV party gave a toss about Europe, the environment, climate change etc. and that Melanchon was a bit of climate and Europe sceptic who would say anything to collect protest votes. Not so apparently, because together these parties have written a document that says they’re all for anything and everything that might win them votes among the gullible at large. Which, unfortunately for them, does not include myself.

The obvious back-up choice would be Macron’s candidate FONTANEL. But, then again, his decision to side with the Petrolhead Party in the recent mayoral elections shows he’s as prepared as the next man to sacrifice the planet in the name of getting elected. (Note that ROZENHAFT is promising to reduce the price of petrol as a key policy.)

The obvious way to approach this then is by elimination. I shall not vote for a Euro-sceptic, given the shitshow that Brexit has proved to be. So that excludes all extreme candidates: VOLOKHOVA, FÈVE, BLACHE, and CHRISTMANN. Next, I should eliminate the ostensibly well-meaning but clearly bonkers candidates: KARMANN, GROSJEAN and SAUNER. That basically leaves me with four independents, two socialists and a green to choose from.

Judging by her LinkedIn Profile Ms Nawal HAFED seems a bit of a risky choice. A recent graduate, she doesn’t appear to have held down a full time job as yet – which does make you wonder whether this isn’t just a strategy to keep the wolf from the door. Albéric BARRET appears to be in a similar situation but at least he does have some green credentials.

Jérémy GOVI would be an interesting choice given his experience of working in the middle of Strasbourg’s deprived Hautepierre neighbourhood. Although his policies are dangerously close to those of NUPES he perhaps deserves some thanks for his efforts. The same might be said for Salesman Sylvain COURCOUX and local boy Jamal ROUCHDI, but they’re all wildcards given that they don’t appear very internet savvy.

And then there’s plastic surgeon Frédéric SEIGLE-MURANDI, who er, well, is good at reshaping breasts.

That just leaves ELKOUBY who is a veteran of local politics, and is showing a bit of integrity by not selling out his principles in the name of the populist NUPES project. He was voted out in 2017 though when his party collapsed which does make you wonder why he thinks standing under their old banner will garner votes this time around. But considering the choice of weathercocks and idiots standing for the seat – I’d say he’s probably in with a chance. So, he’ll get my first round vote. As for the second, we’ll just have to wait and see…

Update 17-June: Somewhat predictably Regnol and Fontanel are through to the second round, with the former looking mostly likely to win the seat. If Regnol had been standing for EELV – then I would have voted for her. However, the Nupes project, which EELV signed up to, is an incoherent alliance of parties pretending they have something in common. Worse, if they win a majority, they plan to insist on making the controversial Jean-Luc Melanchon Prime Minister. Controversial because he has been depicted as pro-Putin, anti-European, anti-Semitic, and a dodgy accountant too boot. Furthermore, Nupes are statistically unlikely to win a majority and therefore their presence in the legislature is unlikely to deliver anything to the nation other than five years of governmental paralysis. I shall therefore be casting my vote accordingly.