Constituencies for French residents overseas
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They were created by the 2010 redistricting of French legislative constituencies, the aim of which was to enable French citizens overseas (Français établis hors de France) to be represented as such, rather than vote in a constituency on French territory, as was the case previously. Their creation does not increase the overall number of seats in the Assembly, which remains stable at 577, since it is compensated for by a redrawing of boundaries which reduces the number of seats in France itself to 566. These measures were implemented for the June 2012 legislative election. (There are already Senators representing overseas citizens, since 1982, but, like all French Senators, they are elected indirectly, by the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad.)
The creation of these constituencies created some controversy, when Le Monde estimated that they would be far more favourable to the main centre-right party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), then in power, than to the main centre-left party, the Socialist Party (PS). The newspaper pointed out that, in nine of these constituencies, a majority of voters appeared to favour the right, based on the figures from the 2007 French presidential election. The constituency of Central and Eastern Europe and that of North-West Africa were the only ones to appear left-leaning. While Le Monde provided the figures without comment, left-wing politicians such as Socialist MP Jean-Jacques Urvoas suggested that the government was attempting to provide itself with extra seats, and Communist MP Jean-Paul Lecoq suggested overseas citizens should continue to vote solely in French constituencies.
Contrary to expectations, however, the Socialist Party candidates won seven of the eleven constituencies in the 2012 election, with their parliamentary allies in Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) winning one, and the UMP winning only three. Two of the winning Socialist candidates were later disqualified by the Constitutional Council due to campaign finance irregularities. They were replaced in by-elections by a candidate from the UMP and a candidate from the center-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), leaving the overseas constituencies with five MPs from the Socialist Party, four from UMP (which in 2015 changed its name to The Republicans), one from EELV, and one from UDI.
In all, the Americas are divided into two constituencies, North and South (1 & 2); Europe into six (3 to 8), with the eighth constituency also incorporating Israel; and Africa into two (9 & 10), with the tenth constituency also incorporating the Arabian peninsula as well as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The eleventh constituency, the largest, includes every other country in Asia, as well as the entirety of Oceania, along with Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Overseas departments and territories of France are not included, as they are de jure part of France, and already have their own electoral constituencies. In addition, North Korea, which is not diplomatically recognised by France, is not part of any constituency. The same is true of Bhutan. Kosovo, which is recognised by France, is part of the seventh constituency. Taiwan is incorporated into the eleventh constituency as part of China, as France recognises the One China policy. Western Sahara is not part of any constituency - being neither recognised as part of Morocco, nor included in the ninth constituency in its own right. The status of the Palestinian territories is not explicitly defined, but French residents there were able to vote, as part of the same constituency as Israel. Other self-proclaimed and de facto but non-recognised independent countries, such as Somaliland or Abkhazia, are incorporated as part of the country which claims sovereignty over them.
List of constituencies
|Constituency||Region||Number of countries||Current MP||Photo||Party||Elected in...|
|First||Canada and United States||2||Frédéric Lefebvre||UMP||2013|
|Second||Central America, Caribbean and South America||33||Sergio Coronado||EELV||2012|
|Third||Northern Europe||10||Axelle Lemaire||PS||2012|
|Fifth||Andorra, Monaco, Portugal and Spain||4||Arnaud Leroy||PS||2012|
|Sixth||Liechtenstein and Switzerland||2||Claudine Schmid||UMP||2012|
|Seventh||Central and Eastern Europe||16||Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’||PS||2012|
|Eighth||Southern Europe, Israel (and the Palestinian territories) and Turkey||8||Meyer Habib||UDI||2013|
|Ninth||North-west Africa||16||Pouria Amirshahi||PS||2012|
|Tenth||Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, much of the Middle East||48||Alain Marsaud||UMP||2012|
|Eleventh||Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Oceania, most of Asia||49||Thierry Mariani||UMP||2012|
The 2012 legislative election resulted in the election of the very first National Assembly members representing French residents overseas.
Voting occurred over a week, from 23 to 29 May or on 2 or 3 June for the first round, well in advance of voting in metropolitan France (10 June) or certain French overseas territories and departments (9 June). Second round voting occurred from 6 to 12 June or on 16 or 17 June (as opposed to 17 June alone in metropolitan France). Unlike their compatriots in France itself, expatriates could vote by postal ballot or over the Internet, though they could of course vote in person in their local consulate. The date depends on voters' location and the method by which they cast their ballot. If an expatriate voted via the Internet, he or she had a week to do so from 23 to 26 May. A postal ballot could be cast, if received by 31 May in the Americas or by 1 June in the rest of the world. Those who preferred to vote in person in their local consulate had to do so on 2 June in the Americas or 3 June in the rest of the world.
In April 2011, the ruling Union for a Popular Movement chose several prominent members to stand as candidates overseas. Thus, Frédéric Lefebvre, Secretary of State for Commerce, was chosen as UMP candidate for the First constituency; Éric Besson, Minister of Industry, for the Fifth; and Thierry Mariani, Secretary of State for Transport, for the Eleventh.
By contrast, the Socialist Party preferred to select long-term residents of their respective constituencies, who are active in their local community but generally unknown in national French politics.
In the first round, the Socialist Party finished first in six constituencies, while a Socialist-endorsed Green candidate finished first in the second constituency (Central America, Caribbean and South America). The Union for a Popular Movement finished first in the other three (the fifth, tenth and eleventh). The second round, in every constituency except the second, was a run-off between the Socialist Party and the UMP. The second round confirmed this trend, with the left taking eight seats, and the UMP only three. This was a significant surprise; early indications had been that most of the seats would go to the right. Indeed, the UMP government had been accused of having created these constituencies so as to establish right-wing safe seats. The left's victory in North America was described as "incredible", and explained, by commentators in Libération, as being due to Socialist candidate Corinne Narassiguin's strong and active campaign, and local voters' rejection of UMP candidate Frédéric Lefebvre, perceived as knowing little about North America and as barely speaking English.
Turnout was particularly low in every constituency (from 13 to 28%). A number of expatriates, living far from any polling station, said they had been unable to vote online, because they had not received the necessary login codes, or because of errors when they attempted to log in and cast their vote. Others said they had abstained deliberately, considering that they should not be voting in an election when the results would primarily affect residents of France. Others considered that the candidates were necessarily ill-suited to represent the interests of expatriates scattered over often vast and diverse territories. Based on projections from the 2007 presidential election results, the carving of constituencies should have resulted in a 9-to-2 division of the seats between the UMP and the Socialists, however French expatriates ended up electing seven Socialists, one Green (Europe Écologie - Les Verts) and three UMP deputies. The results were likely impacted by low turnout and support for Francois Hollande following his presidential election.
In February 2013, the elections of Socialist MPs Corinne Narassiguin and Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou were annulled by the Constitutional Council, due to irregularities in the funding of their electoral campaigns. They were barred from standing for public office for a period of one year. Four defeated right-wing candidates in their two constituencies were also barred from standing for public office for a year, for the same reason.
|Seventh||Pierre-Yves Le Borgn'||PS||13.80%|
Media related to Constituencies for French residents overseas at Wikimedia Commons
- Official map of the eleven constituencies (French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs)
- Candidates' campaign leaflets for the 2012 election (French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs)
- "Elections 2012 - Votez à l’étranger", French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
- "La représentation des Français établis hors de France", French Senate
- "Redécoupage électoral - 11 députés pour les Français de l'étranger", Le Petit Journal, October 22, 2009
- "Députés de l'étranger: comment ça marche?", L'Express, October 15, 2009
- "La couleur politique des nouvelles circonscriptions des Français à l'étranger", Le Monde, September 26, 2009
- "Redécoupage électoral - 11 députés pour les Français de l'étranger", Le Petit Journal, October 22, 2009
- "Le Conseil constitutionnel annule l'élection de deux députées PS des Français de l'étranger". Le Monde. AFP. 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
- "Les élections en 2012 à l’étranger: Votre circonscription pour l’élection des députés", French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
- "Les législatives françaises dans la 8e circonscription de l'étranger - Reportage en Israël", Radio France Internationale, 1 June 2012
- Elections législatives. Dates et modalités, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Alexandre Léchenet and Maxime Le Roux, “Les Français de l'étranger peuvent voter par Internet”, Le Monde, 23 May 2012
- "Législatives : l'UMP a désigné ses candidats pour l'étranger", Le Figaro, April 13, 2011
- "Elections législatives 2012 : nos candidates et candidats", Parti Socialiste - Fédération des Français à l'Etranger
- Official results for the first round of the 2012 legislative election, French Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- "La gauche l'emporte chez les Français de l'étranger", Le Monde, 18 June 2012
- "La gauche rafle 8 des 11 circonscriptions des Français de l’étranger", France 24, 18 June 2012
- "La vague socialiste emporte même l'Amérique!", Libération, 17 June 2012
- "Législatives : les Français de l'étranger abstentionnistes expliquent leur non-vote", Le Monde, 8 June 2012
- "Le Conseil constitutionnel annule l'élection de deux députées PS des Français de l'étranger", Le Monde, 15 February 2013
- "Résultats des élections législatives : Français de l'étranger", Le Monde