PUDUCHERRY: Socialist Francois Hollande was elected President of France on Sunday by a narrow margin with 51.62 percentage of votes to unseat Nicolas Sarkozy from the President‘s post. Joining this trend that France underwent, the French citizens in Puducherry and other regions registered under the Consulate in Puducherry, had voted overwhelmingly for Hollande.
Hollande polled 65 per cent of the votes compared to Sarkozy’s 35 per cent. In fact, out of an electorate of 5116, the total polled votes were 2474 with 1606 in favour of Hollande, compared to Sarkozy’s 838, while 30 were invalid votes.
The percentage of polling was only around 45 per cent and this reflects a change in trend of voting as Puducherry voters had generally favoured the right wing candidate in the second round of voting.
But this time, people in Puducherry came out in a big way to favour the socialist with 768 votes more than the right wing UMP’s Sarkozy. In the last Presidential elections the mandate was even for Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, though the socialist Royal slightly polled just 50 more votes.
Even in the past when Jacques Chirac of Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) won in 1995 and 2002 , or when Francois Mitterrand of the Socialist Party won in 1981 and 1988, citizens here under the French Consulate voted for the right wing. The reasons were that most French people of Puducherry were followers of Charles De Gaulle, the French general and statesman, leader of the Free French during World War Two and the architect and President of the Fifth Republic. As most of Puducherry’s citizens served in the French army, they were influenced by De Gaulle.
But now the overwhelming support for socialist has become a matter of intrigue for French politicians in Puducherry. “Many of the present generation in Puducherry do not know about De Gaulle,” said Siva Pradipane, a member of UMP party. Besides, groupism in UMP has divided the party and thus the confidence in people. The Socialists, however, were a united front with a large contingent of young activists.
However, socialist leaders have a different view. People have voted this time focusing on the requirements of their children and other family members living in France rather than their own life in Puducherry, said Emmanuel Prosper, a Socialist party member. Besides, the impact of television has made people aware of the issues in the contest.
A good number of people were aware of the happenings in France and the disappointments expressed about Sarkozy’s rule as well as the economic crisis.“Sarkozy’s rule of mandatory knowledge of French for French citizens flying to France and the requirement of work permit has not gone well with local French citizens.
Many of them who are working in France without work permit were against Sarkozy fearing deportation back to Puducherry. Others who did know French but wanted to go immediately to France were sore with Sarkozy,” said Thirou of UMP.
In addition, the apprehensions of educational scholarship, pension not coming their way in Puducherry if Sarkozy were to return to power had also gone against the UMP leader.
The Socialist Party on the other hand attributes the people’s support to massive campaigning by highlighting the agenda of Hollande and explaining what would be good for citizens.