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Mapped: Expats kick off French legislative elections with online voting

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Most voters will head to the polls for France’s legislative elections on June 12 and 19. But for French residents abroad – who have had representatives of their own in the lower-house National Assembly since 2012 – the vote kicks off online on Friday. French expatriates, who are the only members of the electorate allowed vote via the internet to choose their legislators, will cast ballots in 11 voting districts, from the tiny to the vast.

Ahead of France‘s presidential election in April, some 1.4 million of the 48.7 million citizens registered to vote had signed up from abroad.

Now set to vote in the country’s legislative elections, French expatriates have been sending their own lawmakers to the National Assembly since 2012 to advocate on their behalf on taxation and pension issues; educational and language resources overseas; and consular issues, often those relating to multinational families. 

The overseas voting districts range from minuscule District 6 (Liechtenstein and Switzerland) to mammoth District 11, which spans Eastern Europe, Asia and Oceania and represents French nationals based in 49 different countries stretching from Belarus to Tonga.   

French residents abroad elect their own lawmakers to the lower-house National Assembly representing 11 districts around the world. © FMM Graphic Studio

But the constituency with the most registered voters – more than 230,000 – is District 1, which represents French expats across Canada and the United States.

French voters abroad have four ways to cast their ballots: in person, by proxy, via internet and by mail. The online option returns this year after being suspended for the last legislative elections in 2017 over cyberattack fears in the wake of Donald Trump’s election in the United States.

Internet voting for the French legislative first round begins on Friday and runs through June 1. Registered voters who prefer to cast their ballots the old-fashioned way can do so in person at embassies and consulates on June 4 (for voters in the Americas) and June 5 (for voters in other districts abroad).

>> Explainer: How do France’s legislative elections work?

Candidates from President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche (Republic on the move) party and its ally Le Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) party won 10 of the 11 seats representing French residents abroad in 2017. The only exception was District 8 (Italy, Malta, San Marino, the Holy See, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Israel) won by a lawmaker from the centre-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), allied with the conservative Les Républicains party.

French legislative elections
French legislative elections © FRANCE 24

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