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French ski station offers passes at €1 to voters, to limit abstention

The Alps station is offering a saving of €36.40 to anyone who can prove they have voted in the first round of the presidential elections today

A one euro coin and a ski station

The pass offer is designed to encourage people to vote Pic: isak55 / View Apart / Shutterstock

A ski station in the French Alps is offering ski passes for just €1 to people who have voted in the presidential election this weekend, in a bid to encourage voting and limit abstention.

Today (Sunday, April 10), the Les Gets station in Haute-Savoie will sell forfaits (passes) at just €1 per person for those who can prove they have voted in the first round of the presidential elections. 

People will be asked to show their stamped electoral card as proof. The normal price is €37.40 per pass.

The move is aiming to encourage skiers to vote, and reduce abstention levels, even among those who are visiting the mountains.

Read more: Votes, budgets, rules: how the French election works and quirky facts

On its internet site, the station states: ”While abstention has become a massive phenomenon in local and national elections…we want to encourage skiers to take part in the vote [because] practising your favourite leisure activity on Sundays is not incompatible with performing your civic duty.”

Today is also the last day that the station will be open for this season.

When is the election?

It will be in two parts. The first vote is taking place today (Sunday, April 10), and the second vote will very likely take place on Sunday, April 24. 

How many people generally vote in France?

In 2017, 77.77% of registered voters turned out for the first round, and 74.56% for the second – slightly down from the two previous elections, which saw turnouts of around 80%.

The incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to win, although some predictions suggest that he could face far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round.

Why the fight against abstention? 

Some experts have said that abstention rates could soar in this election, due to complacency and disillusionment with the political establishment. 

Read more: French election: Why abstentions will hit Le Pen and Mélenchon hardest

Céline Braconnier, Director of Sciences Po Saint-Germain and specialist in abstention, said that abstentions are most likely to affect Ms Le Pen (Rassemblement National), and to a lesser extent Jean-Luc Mélenchon (France insoumise).

It comes as the gap between her and Mr Macron is closing.

Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron has already warned about the risk of abstentions affecting his own chances. 

“It can happen. Don't believe the polls or the commentators…who tell you that it is impossible,” he said during a campaign meeting on April 2. 

Ms Le Pen has also called on her supporters to turn out, saying that Mr Macron is not guaranteed a victory.

“Don't listen to the little birds that tell you that this election is already over… Each of your votes is as important as that of the President of the Republic,” she said. 

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Comment: Macron election win would prove poor state of French politics 
‘When I am president’: The key policies of final 12 French candidates

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