05 March, 2014

The electoral participation, first goal of candidates

Le premier enjeu du prochain scrutin est le niveau de la participation. Les candidats, pour des raisons diverses, ne s'y trompent pas. Le maire sortant pourrait faire les frais du faible niveau de popularité de l'actuel gouvernement et de la situation économique générale. Mais son principal rival a aussi intérêt à créer une dynamique derrière sa candidature dès le 1er tour. L'abstention ne sera sans doute pas le seul fait des "pêcheurs du dimanche". Elle pourrait être politique et assumée.

Before the outcome of the first round of the municipal elections, the level of the electoral participation is one of the main issues of candidates, whatever be their political mood. The last edition of Vivre à Angers, the bimonthly magazine of the city is as clear as it can be. Under the reminder of the ballotson March 23 and 30 there is that single word "Vote". The previous polls of 2008 in angers had already been characterized by a hig level of abstention : 41% for the first round and 36.5% for the second round. In order to prevent the renewal of such a phenomena, Angers city and all the candidates have implemented a large awareness of electors about the importance to do their "civic duty".

According to many French medias, one of the most likely reason for an important abstention is the current unpopularity of the French president, François Hollande what could mean that the no-vote decision has nothing to do with indifference but could in fact have a political meaning. Of course the outgoing mayor, Frédéric Béatse, supported by the socialist party which is in office at the national level, is more concerned by such phenomena than his challenger, Christophe Béchu. Another phenomena, which has few to do with Mr. Béatse's city management, is the depressive trend of unemployment. According to the latest statistics, the number of unemployed persons in Angers has increased by 5% on a single month (11 815 in January versus 11 251 in December).

But, Christophe Béchu, rival of the outgoing mayor, is not safe from that possible desaffection. The fact he choose not to settle an alliance with the centrist Laurent Gérault can deprive him of votes in the second round. A part of Mr. Gérault's supporter may choose abstention in the final run. So, perhaps more than Mr. Béatse, Christophe Béchu must mobilize people as soon as the first round while his opponent can benefit of more reverves pf votes with the possible backup of Jean-Luc Rotureau's supporters.

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