Sarkozy opposes foreigners’ vote

Voting rights in local elections should remain for the French and for EU citizens alone, the president said

24 November 2011

PRESIDENT Sarkozy has insisted local election votes must remain for the French and Europeans only.

Speaking to 3,000 mayors invited to the Elysée during their annual conference, he opposed plans by the left-wing majority Senate to introduce a proposed constitutional law change next month, allowing people from non-EU countries to vote for their local councillors.

He said the idea “seems to me risky, because it could profoundly divide the French people at a time when, more than ever, we need to bring them together”.

He reminded the mayors that EU citizens can already vote, which he said was because “we have a common destiny with them”, adding: “I am very attached to the fact that the constitution should not go farther than that, because the right to vote and to be elected, in our local areas, must remain linked to French nationality.”

People were welcome to apply for it if they wanted to, he said.

The president’s comments were however less strident than the attitude of far-right party la Droite Populaire, which handed out leaflets at the mayors’ conference, asking: “In 2014, do you want the four million foreigners to choose the 36,000 mayors of France?”

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