Local elections in France are a bit weird. You don’t vote for a party, or a person. There are lists of candidates who present themselves as a group who will work well together. At the previous election, we lived in a large village (1033 inhabitants or thereabouts), and we had the choice between two lists – the outgoing conseil municipal and a new lot, who seemed to have some good ideas, specially about controlling expenditure. We had the right to cross out a name on a list or to add a name from the other list. We duly did this, crossing out a rather dubious character and adding someone we thought highly of.
Now we live in a smaller commune (population 690 ), and although the conseil municipal could be as many as 15 people, when I went to vote yesterday I was presented with only one list, containing seven names, which were the outgoing conseillers. It seemed a bit pointless to vote, but it says on my electoral card “Voter est un droit, c’est aussi un devoir civique” (To vote is a right, it is also a civic duty).
So I did – self-c0nsciously ducking under a green cloth to hide my top half from the assembled company (the mayor and a few assorted councillors),I folded the list and slid it into the envelope provided and emerged sheepishly to pop the envelope into the glass urn, which already contained a small heap of votes.
With a jovial bonne fin de journée all round, my electoral experience was at an end. I understand that the outgoing conseil was duly re-elected, surprise, surprise! I’m sure they will, as before, run the village with efficiency, mow the grass, maintain the peace and empty the rubbish bins.