Pascale Richard (right) and some of her co-listiers / credit: Aurélien Couput

The consular elections do not move the crowds, but that does not discourage Pascale Richard, head of the list of La République en Marche! (LREM) for this obscure ballot which will take place on May 16 in North America (on the 17th in the rest of the world). "In 2014, for the previous vote, there was 11% participation in New York. We will try to do better", she says.

The New York branch of LREM presented, Tuesday, January 28 in Manhattan, its candidates for this election set up in 2014 to elect "consular advisers" around the world. Today called “advisers of French citizens abroad”, these local elected representatives attached to each consulate or embassy represent the French people in their consular district and participate in the development of local policies for French people abroad in the fields social assistance, education and security in particular. They have a purely advisory role, unlike municipal councilors in France.

Five councilors (Julie Ducourneau, Gérard Epelbaum, Annie Michel, Richard Ortoli, Patrick Pagni) currently sit on the consular council in the riding of New York, which includes New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Bermuda. Founded in 2016, LREM did not participate in the first poll in 2014, but does not intend to play the extras in 2020. "It’s a local election, but we are the majority party, observes Pascale Richard, who is also the deputy for the deputy of the French of North America Roland Lescure. We have more direct access to the people who can help us. It is important".

In 2014, the consular elections were coupled with the European elections in order to increase participation. This year, this linkage will not exist, which augurs for a very low participation, despite the possibility of voting by internet (May 8 to 13). Ballots that attract little favor candidates with the best network. The current advisers, who are all representing themselves in 2020, are well established in the French community because of their long-standing associative and political commitments. "We are new to this election. We don't have the structure of the other candidates who are already consular advisers, recognizes Pascale Richard. But we want to listen. We are going to talk about subjects like pensions and taxes. We also have the possibility of explaining certain laws passed or under examination in Paris".

The real issue of consulars: the Senate

Beyond selecting local elected representatives, the real issue in consular elections is the election of six of the twelve senators of French nationals abroad in September. Indeed, the 443 advisers of French nationals abroad who will come out of the polls in May will represent the bulk of the electoral college responsible for choosing senators for French nationals outside France. At the moment, only one of them belongs to LREM (Richard Yung, an ex-socialist who joined Macron's party in 2017). "More is needed“, Launched Pascale Richard in front of the nearly 70 people gathered to attend the launch of her campaign around a galette des rois.

The LREM list in New York has a total of twelve people. Number 2 on the list is entrepreneur Pascal Royer. Also included are Renaud Deraison (co-founder of the cybersecurity company Tenable), Isabelle Bonneau (founder of the trilingual Tessa school in New Jersey) or Charles-Edouard Catherine (blind tri-athlete who works at the National lobby Organization on Disability). The deposit of the lists must intervene before March 7 for the American continent.


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