8 May 2017

French Presidential Elections : A massive increase in the "we don't want your policies" vote

Like many people, I'm very relieved that Marine LePen's National Front was pushed into second place in yesterday's second round of the Presidential Elections. Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron.

But one of the most fascinating things about yesterday's results was the massive increase in the number of people who went out to vote, but refused to vote for either Macron or LePen. The official  results from the French Ministery of the Interior now distinguish between "Vote Blanc" - an empty envelope, or a blank piece of paper, and a "Vote Nul" which is what happens if you write something else on the voting slip. This is actually new - and follows a change in practise that occured in 2014.

Of the 35,407,616 people who voted yesterday, over 3 million voted blanc (3,006,106 to be precise), and a further million voted nul (1,070,696). Add them together, and that tells you that over four million people (4,066,802) said "we don't want either set of policies!". That's 11.49% of the people who voted. In my part of France (Occitanie), the percent of people who voted Blanc and Nul reached 13.08%.

That's about twice the previous record.

If you are interested in the details, I extracted the relevant information in a Google Sheet that you can access here.

I'm happy to tell you that I voted blanc myself - but only after the RTBF news site in Belgium had revealed that Macron was heading for a safe victory! I didn't want to wake up this morning with LePen as president.

If you add to the 4 million plus that voted Blanc or Nul the more than 12 million people (12,041,313) who abstained, and you get a total of over 16 million people (16,108,115) who effectively reject the current policies. This massive rejection is particular clear in these graphs that you can find on the Guardian's website, that shows that for many parts of France,  "spoiled ballots" (Blanc and Nul) and abstention were remarkably common.

I hope Emmanuel Macron is paying attention to this. It looks like the French people want something different from the usual tired old Neoliberal recipes. I believe that deregulation and Uberization of the economy is simply not what people want.

I believe we need radical new ideas that can make the economy work for people. Monsieur Macron, you seem to be an intelligent person, who appears to be capable of listening. I'm happy to talk with you if ever you want some new ideas.

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