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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Legislative elections

The French elected their president in May, and now, one month later, they've just elected their Chambre de Députés (similar to our House of Representatives). Seems curious to an American. We combine all candidates and issues in one long ballot every two years in November, whereas the French do not have a specific date for elections. In fact, each election is held in two rounds on two successive Sundays. Last Sunday, our district had 23 candidates for one post. Today, voters decided between the two candidates with the largest number of votes from last week.

Voting was simple today. There were two stacks of ballots, each with one name. The voter picks up both, goes into a cabin behind a curtain and puts one of the ballots into an envelope and throws the other one away. He then takes the envelope to the voting judge (called the President) who verifies the identity of the voter. Finally comes the ceremonial placing of the envelope in the transparent box as the President announces out loud that the voter "a voté."

President Hollande's Socialist Party is expected to easily win a majority of seats in the house of representatives. He also has a majority in the Senate - which held elections in September, 2011. Now Hollande should be able to pass legislation without roadblocks.
He has a big job ahead of him with the current economic situation in Europe.

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