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Local elections this weekend

If you registered as a voter by December 31, Sunday is your chance to make use of your vote

IF YOU are an EU citizen and registered as a voter by the end of 2013, this Sunday is your chance to make use of your vote in the mairie elections first round.

You should have received your carte d’électeur, which you need to take to the polling station along with an ID card or passport.

Check your card for your local station, which will be open from 8.00 until 18.00 (or up to 19.00 or 20.00 in some areas, especially large towns). If in doubt your mairie or local press should have details, or do a website search for your area under “bureaux de vote” and “horaires”.

On arrival you will present your card and ID before collecting an envelope and several bulletins de vote, each consisting of a full party list of candidates. This year, if you live in a commune of 1,000 residents or more there will be two sections – on the left the municipal council list, and on the right some of the same names, from around the top of the left-hand list, who are standing for the local intercommunal body. The latter group together many neighbouring communes to organise certain shared services, which might include, for example, buses or rubbish collection.

No changes are allowed on the lists, apart from in communes under 1,000 where the tradition of panachage will still be allowed; that is, striking out names and adding others (eg. from alternative lists). You cannot, however, this year add anyone who is not declared as a candidate.

You make any changes and place your chosen list in your envelope in a booth known as an isoloir before taking the envelope and putting it in an urn, where you will also be asked to sign against your name. Technically, in small communes you can include more than one list, with some names crossed off each, as long as the total is not more than the number of seats. Your electoral card will be returned to you, stamped.

If necessary, there will be a second, deciding round on Sunday 30. This is required if no candidate had an absolute majority in the first round.

There is concern that participation this weekend may hit new lows because of disillusionment with politics. Numbers last time were already a record low, with 66.54% in mainland France. The latest surveys show the young are least likely to participate – 59.9% said they would vote, in a YouGov survey.

As usual, it is expected that there will be a swing against national government, as a protest vote – with the right tipped, by a slight margin, to gain the most seats.

Connexion will cover the election results in our next edition, out next week.

While most local election posters are worthy and unmemorable, one hardline left group in Lot-et-Garonne has tried to project a groovy image, by copying the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover.

The Villeneuve-sur-Lot candidates from the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, Front de Gauche and Parti de Gauche created a buzz after their poster was publicised on a blog called “TumblrMunicipLol”. However commentators suggested the politicians’ fashion sense may be less snappy than that of the originals.

Photo: Election poster from Left-wing list in Villeneuve-sur-Lot

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