This supporter of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the candidate of the La France insoumise party, admits to meeting a large number of French people who are not very interested in the electoral campaign, or even in politics in general.
People tell us that they are not interested in politics because they say there is no point in going to vote. And I, I kindly explain to them that we can have social progress and that yes, politics is also something that should interest them.explains Jeroen.
When we accompany him to a building in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Metz, in eastern France, Joeron strikes up a conversation with a voter who tells him that he is going to vote, but without much interest.
Discouraged by French politics, this man finds that people around him will abstain on Sunday.
Disgusted by the system, what! There are people who work, who have two jobs day and night and who can’t do ithe says.
Towards greater abstention than in 2017
In the first round of the last presidential election in 2017, 22% of French voters abstained.
In some regions, the proportion was even higher. This was the case in Metz, where a third of registered voters did not vote.
Several polls suggest that the abstention rate could be even higher this year.
For the municipal councilor of Metz, Xavier Bouvet, this prospect is not surprising. He noted the lack of interest aroused by
this campaign which has been the victim of increasingly dizzying newswith the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The elected official, witness to the disenchantment of part of the electorate, also underlines that the problem has been observed since well before this presidential campaign.
” It is a democratic fatigue that has deep roots, nourished by a form of misunderstanding of the political system, decision times and administrative complexities. All of this has produced a distancing from issues that seem increasingly opaque. »
The professor at Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Céline Braconnier, has been interested for years in abstention in France.
According to her, the phenomenon has been visible for a long time among young voters and residents of working-class neighborhoods on the outskirts of large cities.
The candidates address themselves in a priority way to those who elect them. When whole categories vote little, we are little inclined as candidates to defend the interests of these votersshe explains.
The expert adds that abstention is now a more widespread option among the French population, in particular
in the categories of the population which, until then, had systematically voted.
An evolution of the phenomenon, which, according to Céline Braconnier, is partly explained by disenchantment, but also by the political offer, which has undergone major changes in France in recent years.
” It’s obvious that when the traditional parties break down, when landmarks that have been very strong like the right and the left are no longer landmarks, it’s obvious that those who are furthest away have more difficulty finding their bearings and go less to the polls. »
Strong abstention from young people?
This year, abstention could particularly prevail among the youngest segment of the electorate. Polls suggest the rate could be 40% among 18-24 year olds.
On the campus of the University of Lorraine in Metz on Tuesday, some students made no secret of having followed the presidential campaign little.
I don’t vote, and there are probably others who do the same like melaunches Etam, which recognizes that abstention could have an impact on the ballot and even
skew the results.
At the end of the classes, various reasons are mentioned to explain the reluctance of some to go to the polling station.
For Apolline, the obstacle is having to return to her hometown to vote.
I need at least five hours by road or seven hours by train to get there. I don’t have the means or the time, she says. The student does not feel challenged enough by the candidates’ proposals to make these efforts.
Precisely, Mamadou Karim Sissoko, a Greenpeace activist who came to lead an awareness campaign on campus, believes that the lack of attention given by aspiring presidents to certain themes, such as the climate, may have contributed to the demobilization of a party. of the electorate.
” Ecology is always relegated to the background. So here is. However, it is a subject that can also be mobilizing, especially among young people. »
Despite the context and the obstacles, many voters, especially young people, will exercise their right to vote on Sunday.
This is the case of Inès, met in Metz, who notes this temptation of abstentionism around her.
This is very problematic for democracy. We are offered the right to vote, it’s our only weapon, and if nobody uses it, everyone will still complainshe says.