With an estimated 350,000 French nationals living in the UK, you can understand the logistical challenge in ensuring that they were all able to vote in the second round of the French election on Sunday May 7, 2017.
Rye resident Celine Espuna was one of seven volunteers managing the voting booth at Ashford. The booth, one of 10 set up across the UK, was open from 8am to 7pm to serve the 2,264 French citizens who live in the CT, ME and TN postcode areas which cover swathes of Kent and East Sussex. Celine, who was up early to get to Ashford to help set up the voting booth, said: “It was a busy day because this time electors started to vote from 8am to avoid queuing as they did in the first round and it was encouraging to see so many electors coming to vote.”
France is one of a number of countries that allows its expatriate citizens to vote in Presidential elections irrespective on how long they have lived outside the country. This right includes the ability to vote in person, though subject to being registered with the local French consulate. French citizens living overseas fall into one of 11 constituencies that span the globe and each elects one representative to the National Assembly. The UK forms part of a larger Northern European voting block and according to the French Foreign Ministry a total of two million French people live overseas.
Photo: Kevin McCarthy