Friday, January 21

The editorial of Paul Sugy: “A democratic fatigue already palpable?”

In his editorial of this Thursday, December 30, Paul Sugy, journalist at Le Figaro, examines the risk of a strong abstention in the presidential election.

As pointed out by my colleague Jean Cittone yesterday in the columns of Le Figaro, in addition to the approximately 6% of voters who are simply not registered on the lists, several million French people are also “badly registered”, that is – that is to say in particular registered on electoral lists of their former municipality of residence. In all, nearly 10% of the electorate would not be, or would be badly registered, according to a survey by the BVA institute.

However, the procedure is now more automated and a single file of entries on the electoral rolls has been created to simplify matters; we also have up to six weeks before the election (ie until March 4) to correct their registration on the electoral roll, whereas before the procedure ended on December 31.

And above all, so that we cannot say that the government is hanging its arms around these worrying figures, Marlène Schiappa repeated it yesterday forcefully: this year, voters will have… a QR code. I’m not sure what that changes, but hey it is still the preferred governance tool of the executive at the moment, which means that it means that they have put in the big means.

Besides a question, which I throw in the roundabout, before lots of much more intelligent people explain to me that it is perfectly impossible and unimaginable, but finally I would have tried: why is it that one day, for national elections, one could not vote in any polling station in France, rather than being obliged to go to the one where one is registered? If the electoral register is already unique and dematerialized, is it so difficult?

Abstention has already reached records in previous elections: more structural causes?

Let us hope that this is first of all the demobilizing effect of these local or European elections which, because they are less well understood by the voters, generate less democratic impetus!

But to compare with what is comparable, let’s already go back to the last presidential election: if we add the abstention with the blank or null votes, in total, almost one in two voters voted neither for Emmanuel Macron nor for Marine Le Pen. This means that the abstention is undoubtedly partly linked to questions of casting: voters no longer always identify with the candidates submitted to their votes.

Proof of this is also that the extreme vote is no longer a bulwark against abstention: the left already knows it, which is the first and the biggest victim of the game of differential abstention. His voters deserted the ballot boxes, especially the youngest of them. Not that there is no longer a left-wing youth, but she has poured into a parallel political life to flatter her too much in her contempt for the institutions, the left parties have convinced her that the vote was a political act of second plan. The left thinks first in the ZAD rather than in the voting booth.

In addition, the RN paid the price during the last regional ones: its voters shunned the vote, proof that their refusal to consent to the current political system is now expressed in abstention at least as well as in the choice of a candidate echoing this rejection.

There are undoubtedly deeper reasons linked to the exercise of power and what those who occupy it do with it! There, of course, opinions differ. Libé wrote yesterday that it is the spirit of caste, the confinement of political leaders in an inter-self insensitive to the interests of those below, which leads the French to judge that their vote no longer has any importance. On the right, we judge rather that it is the powerlessness of the state and the weakness of its leaders that discourages voters.

No doubt both are right, and it is precisely this paradox that creates such democratic fatigue: the impression that the verticality of the state, its arrogant authority, and sometimes confined to the contempt of the people, does not nevertheless it makes him incapable of taking the crises he is going through with his body.

An example (there would be a thousand others), this health crisis which led the princes or their advisers to multiply their sometimes humiliating harangues towards their subjects, believing to know everything, predict everything, and mobilizing without trembling the public force in support of their liberticidal oukases, without however the situation of the epidemic today being better than yesterday …

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