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French abroad: the breakthrough of Mélenchon

This is one of the lessons of Sunday's vote: social and environmental ideas have found resonance with French people abroad, an electorate regularly perceived, wrongly, as fertile ground for the right. In addition, abstention has increased sharply.

21.92%. The result of Jean-Luc Mélenchon with the French abroad is almost identical to that which he obtained on French soil (21.95%). A surprising score which testifies to a big push of the candidate of the Popular Union with this electorate regularly assimilated to the right. These results of the vote of French people living abroad were published on Monday April 11 and reveal significant disparities with the votes in France. Several lessons can be drawn from this.

Strong growth for Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Third in 2017, behind Macron and Fillon, the candidate is second this year with 21.92% of the vote. A notable breakthrough since it gains 6 points compared to 2017 when it had obtained a score of 15.83%. It is also 14 additional points to 2012 when Mélenchon won 8.31% of the vote. Unlike 2017 and 2022, he was then the second candidate on the left behind François Hollande and his 28.32%. By observing the number of votes obtained, the progression is even more obvious. From 33,503 ballots in 2012, it obtained 87,692 in 2017 and 109,394 in 2022, i.e. 76,000 votes won in ten years.

The results on the ground reflect this increase. In Montreal, Jean-Luc Mélenchon thus came first, ahead of Emmanuel Macron by three points (34.88% – 31.85%), an inversion of the results compared to five years ago. The Popular Union candidate also won a large part of the votes in the countries of the African continent. 40.24% of the votes in Morocco went to him, 55% in Tangier where he was born. It is this same result of 55% that he obtained with neighboring Algeria. He is also in the lead with the French in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

This unique progression with the particular electorate of French people living abroad is at least partly attributable to the candidate's program. L'Avenir en Commun was indeed one of the rare programs (if not the only one) which addressed the question of French nationals abroad head-on, in particular by evoking the issue of their full integration. to French citizenship. Several booklets dealing with international politics or the Francophonie were also distributed. The social and environmental themes raised during the campaign also found resonance at the time of choice, being the only left-wing candidate able to move on to the second round.

A sham victory and a silent defeat

Placed in first position by voters for the second consecutive time, Emmanuel Macron won 45.09% of the votes cast. An increase of almost five points in a five-year period (40.40% in 2017). But that hides another reality: the outgoing president has above all maintained the base that had appointed him in 2017. From 223,879 ballots in 2017, it rose to 224,957 in 2022. A rickety progression of 1,078 votes. And this despite the absence of a popular Republican candidate. In 2017, François Fillon had gathered 145,829 voters or 26.32% of the votes. Thus, despite good results in the consular polling stations, its success is rather the result of a failure: a mobilization of French people abroad at half mast.

The real winner for the French abroad is abstention. 1,435,746 voters are registered on the electoral rolls abroad and only 35.12% came to vote. A figure in free fall compared to 2017 with a difference of 10 points. 44.28% of people had then filed a ballot. If Mélenchon managed to win more than 20,000 votes in five years, the other candidates had a greater difficulty in reaching new voters. A growing proportion of French people living abroad express a lack of interest in French politics. Added to this are the difficulties in accessing a polling station, a barrier to which have been added the travel restrictions linked to the Covid. The French in Shanghai were thus unable to vote, confinement of the local authorities obliges.

Finally, it should be noted that it was Éric Zemmour who won some of the votes from the right and the far right by finishing third with 8.67% of the vote. He finished first in the polls of Israel, Russia and Thailand, his xenophobic, sexist and racist remarks having convinced 43,252 voters. A significant score, higher than that of Marine Le Pen in 2017 with her 35,926 ballots. She then finished in fifth place. Like this year, but with nearly 10,000 fewer votes (5.29%). In front of her, we find Yannick Jadot (8.17%). And below the 5% mark stand the rest of the candidates: Valérie Pécresse (4.20%), Anne Hidalgo (2.50%), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (1.42%), Jean Lassalle (1.20% ), Fabien Roussel (0.65%), Philippe Poutou (0.63%) and Nathalie Arthaud (0.26%).

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