À la carte

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Today I had the ineffable pleasure to vote for the local elections in France. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it was indeed a pleasure.

I don’t know how familiar is the average reader with the French electoral rules. I thought I knew them reasonably well, but I must admit until this week I wasn’t aware of the peculiar way in which one exerts his electoral rights in a French municipality with less than 2500 inhabitants.

It works like that: You are given a few sheets of paper, each one containing a list of candidates from different coalitions (in my case there were three of them, all local coalitions, with no explicit references to national political parties). You are supposed to vote by putting one of the lists in an envelope (for secrecy), and put the envelope in a box. So far so good, nothing really special.

But you should know that you’re allowed to erase from the list any name you don’t like. Now, this start to be interesting (I can imagine some of you are already fantasizing), but that’s not the whole story. You’re allowed as well to substitute them with candidates taken from the other lists, or even with names of people outside any list. In fact, you can actually write a list of your own, if you fancy it, with the names of the fellow citizens you deem most worthy of being part of the “Counseil Municipal”.

Well, these are very local elections, and maybe is not really fair to make comparisons, but I could’t avoid to think about the differences of such a system with respect to, say, the present Italian electoral law.

Yes, as an Italian abroad, I will soon be called to vote for the next political elections. And, guess what, I fear I will not experiment exactly the same feeling of pleasure.

3 Responses to “À la carte”

  1. Right down to the part about making your own lists, these rules are pretty similar to the Norwegian local election system. Personally, I think the option of erasing candidates you do not like and substitute him with someone from another list is very good, even important in local elections. In a small community, a candidate’s personality can often be more prominent and relevant than what party she belongs to.

  2. […] I already talked about the pleasures of French elections. […]

  3. […] point is that the electoral rules are specials for Italians abroad. If we don’t have the portentous flexibility one can have in French local elections, we’re still free to choose between candidates, and […]

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