French presidential election: more of a vote than a conviction

The French were back at polling stations in Quebec and Montreal on Saturday to nominate the candidate they think is best suited for the post of president, a choice more often made by mistake than out of sheer political affinity.

• Also read: France on the eve of a crucial election

Vote to “block a candidate,” more than one French has slipped that phrase outside the Palais des Congrès in Montreal or College Stanislas in Quebec, where the elections were held.

“I have voted in three presidential elections and in the last two elections I voted to block a candidate. It’s a real disappointment to have to do this. I would have preferred to vote for ideas,” Coralinelegene, advanced, met in the metropolis.

“There’s always good and bad in both, but I think we’re in a position here where we have to make a pretty drastic decision,” argued Emilia Tamco for her part.

The French all felt déjà vu when the results of the first round were announced, learning they would again have to choose between Emmanuel Macron, a centrist candidate, and Marine Le Pen, his extreme opponent.

“We’re actually going back five years,” Delphine Fromentin summarized outside the Quebec office.

But regardless of their initial beliefs, many still wanted to make the journey to fulfill their duty. This is the case of Romain and Pauline, who traveled to Quebec from Saguenay.

“Having agreed or disagreed, at least we participated, it’s more in that sense [qu’on est venus]’ explained Romain, who had not made the trip on the first lap due to the distance and the high price of petrol.

Little surprised by the presence of the two candidates in the second round, Mélodie Desaubry almost hesitated to come and cast her vote.

“I’m not at all for these two grassroots candidates, but I would be really ashamed if Marine Le Pen came to power, I don’t see France as far-right at all,” said the young woman, 22.

An inconclusive debate

The debate that took place last Wednesday between the outgoing president and the National Rally nominee didn’t draw as much attention from across the Atlantic.

“The debate honestly wasn’t terrible, not interesting at all. There was no interest,” said Linda Poupeault, who admitted her choice was already made.

“Personally, I would have liked a little more substance and composure to tackle the issues in concrete terms. [dans le débat]’ argued Laurent Bonin, consular adviser to the French in Montreal.

According to the latest polls, Emmanuel Macron would win this election, albeit by a smaller margin than Marine Le Pen than in 2017.

In France, the vote will take place on Sunday.

A little less waiting in Montreal

After waiting nearly three hours for the vote in the first round, the Montreal French moved earlier on Saturday to avoid reliving the same nightmare. Outcome of the races: Some had to compete for just over an hour.

The French consulate in Montreal acknowledged the problem, saying the “concentrated and very early” arrival of voters led to a large queue outside.

“We had advised not to come after 5pm and to rely on previous surveys. We found the instructions very – almost too much! – followed, since from that point onwards the line no longer existed,” the consulate stressed in a statement published on April 13.

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