French expats in ČR vote for Macron

The president-elect had eight times the votes of rival Le Pen

French people who voted at the embassy in Prague supported social-liberal candidate Emmanuel Macron over right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen by a margin of more than eight to one. Some 1,143 people voted for Macron, while 136 voted for Le Pen. Some 51 votes were blank and 10 were voided in the second round of the French Presidential election.

Macron ran under the banner of a new party he founded called En Marche!, or Association for the Renewal of Political Life. Le Pen represented the National Front, a nationalist party founded in 1974 by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Voting in Prague took place May 7 at the French Embassy in the baroque Buquoy Palace at Velkopřevorské náměstí, across from the Lennon Wall. Small lines were reported around noon, but otherwise voting was brisk.

In the overall voting in France and its overseas territories, Macron won by 66.1 percent to Le Pen's 33.9 percent, or roughly a two-to-one margin. Le Pen had a majority in only two of France's 101 departments, or voting regions.

Macron, who is 39 years old, will take office May 14 as the youngest French president ever and the youngest head of state since Napoleon.

Voter turnout at the embassy was low, though. Some 2,462 people were eligible to vote and 1,343 turned in ballots, or 54.6 percent. Normally voter turnout is around 60 percent. In France, voter turnout was around 75 percent, which was also lower than normal. In the Czech Republic there are about 4,000 French people including children.

The invalid votes were cast for people who were eliminated in the first round, were empty envelopes or had drawings inside.

Unlike the US system, France does not have an electoral college or an equivalent for the presidential vote. The winner of the overall popular vote is the winner of the election. It has two rounds of voting, with the top two candidates of the first round facing off in the second round, unless a candidate gets an absolute majority in the first round.

In the first round of voting, held April 23, there were 11 candidates. Macron led the pack in the Czech vote with 562 votes, and Le Pen was in fifth place with 81 votes. Some 1,405 votes were cast. Voter turnout was 57.4 percent. Coming in ahead of Le Pen in the Czech voting were former prime minister François Fillon with 322 votes, current Member of European Parliament Jean-Luc Mélenchon with 254 votes and current Education Minister Benoît Hamon with 114 votes.

In the overall voting in the first round in France and its territories, Macron took 24.01 percent and Le Pen 21.30 percent, qualifying them for the second round.

Macron was seen as the most pro-EU candidate, while Le Pen favors France exiting the EU. Her position on the EU would affect French people living and working abroad, which could have been one contributing factor to the lack of support she received in foreign voting. The presidential term in France is for five years.

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