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MP bids to make voting compulsory

Only half of France’s 45million voters bothered to vote in departmental elections

WITH just one in two electors bothering to vote in the weekend’s departmental elections, an MP wants to make voting obligatory.

The move by Green MP François de Rugy would make the failure to vote a Class 2 offence and liable to a €35 fine and up to €150 for repeat offences.

With about 45million voters in France fines that would have brought in more than nearly €790m.

It came as ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of the opposition UMP, seemed to call on voters not to vote if they were in a canton where the choice was between the Parti Socialiste and the Front National.

Mr Sarkozy’s call for “Ni ni” [not one or the other] was a bid to avoid having UMP supporters having to choose the ‘best of a bad bunch’ if their own candidate had missed out.

However, left-wing voters seemed to have heeded the same advice and decided not to vote, perhaps costing their party several seats and departments.

The only department that switched from right-wing to left, Lozère in Languedoc-Roussillon, had seen left-wing voters turn out in numbers – and the level of abstention was just 31%, one of the lowest in the country.

Mr de Rugy said that people had a duty to vote “like taxes, it’s a participation in everyday living togeher”.

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