French-Montrealers vote in ‘historic’ election amid surge in far-right

Thousands of French nationals cast ballots in Montreal on Saturday as part of the first round of France’s parliamentary elections, which  has seen a surging far-right party and its allies take the lead in polls released back home.Marie Fournier was motivated to vote by what she calls a rising extremism across the political spectrum in her native country.“Every vote counts because it’s a big chaos in France right now … It feels like it’s the beginning of a war, like an ideological war,” Fournier said in an interview held at a voting centre set up in downtown Montreal.

She is not alone in voicing anxiety about what lies ahead for France.Quebec is home to 260,000 French citizens, 200,000 of whom live in Montreal. They form the largest population of French nationals outside mainland France, and more than one-quarter of registered voters in North America, according to the French government.

The French electoral system allows its citizens living abroad in 11 different districts to each elect a deputy to the National Assembly, which has 577 seats. French citizens in Montreal belong to the same district as French people living in the United States, Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. On Saturday, they will choose between nine candidates ranging from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party to the National Rally, an anti-immigrant party poised to gain the most seats.

Victor Martin said Saturday he hasn’t always voted in the past. But this time the situation felt different, he said, noting each election seems more critical than the last.“You have to use this opportunity, this right and this duty,” said Martin, who has lived in Canada for the past seven years.

Both he and Fournier cast their ballots for the New Popular Front, an alliance of left-wing parties that has vowed to prevent the National Rally from taking power.Céline Volff did not want to share who she voted for, but like the other voters the Canadian Press spoke to, she cited the political turmoil in France as the reason she turned up to have her say in the elections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *