Sunday, April 22, 2007

Meet the French!


If you ever were interested in meeting the French community of Sydney, your best opportunity was today, right here, across from the QVB on the corner of Market and York streets. A long queue ran here all day long. What for? The French presidential elections of course! The voting took place from 8am to 6pm at the French Consulate on the 26th floor of St Martins Tower, 31 Market street, but just getting to the 26th floor was a feat. The crowds were such that the queue started at the bottom of the elevators, ran across the large hall, through the building doors, along Market Street and then way round the corner into York. Average waiting time : 1 hour and 30 minutes! A participation rate never seen before! But the crowd chatted through the wait good humoredly. I went in to accompany my husband (I don't vote, remember ?) and had a great time catching up with friends. Now all we can do is wait for the results, which due to the time difference will only be available at 4 am on Monday. Wonder if I'll be up?

Pour rencontrer la communauté française de Sydney, le meilleur moyen était de se poster aujourd'hui ici, en face du QVB, au coin de Market et de York street. C'était la foule ! Eh oui, l'élection présidentielle bien sûr : le bureau de vote était situé au consulat, au 26ème étage de St Martins Tower, au 31 Market street -mais encore fallait-il y arriver, au 26ème étage ! La queue commençait au pied des ascenseurs, traversait le hall, continuait dans Market Street, tournait le coin et se poursuivait jusqu'ici dans York Street. Temps moyen d'attente : une heure et demie ! On peut dire que la mobilisation a été forte; le consulat, avec son unique urne, a manifestement été débordé... mais enfin, l'ambiance dans la queue était plutot gaie et bon enfant. J'y ai accompagné mon homme (je ne vote pas, vous vous rappelez ?) et retrouvé de vieux amis, finalement passé une très bonne après-midi à papoter...
Maintenant ne reste plus qu'à attendre les résultats, mais avec le décalage horaire nous ne les aurons qu'à 4h du matin lundi... je me demande si je serai debout ?

21 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

I do not know much about politics in France but I did read about the three popular candidates and of those the lady sounded like a winner but there was this older man who seemed to be popular.

I like your photograph, as usual.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Sally said...

Do you have to go to the consulate to vote? No postal ballots? When we voted in the last Italian elections, we kindly got sent all the voting material at home!
And can you vote for deputies and senators (not sure if French senate is elected actually) as well as President?
Berlusconi in Italy introduced a couple of new electorates comprisign the "Italian diaspora". Opinion is he thought it may help him! Well, ha ha....it backfired. Oceania/Africa/Asia - I think i belong to the biggest electorate in the world - favoured Prodi and also returned a "socialist" (you know European style socialist - labour type - to chamber of deputies.

Nathalie said...

No Sally, we can't vote by correspondence. If you're not going to be there you can give a mandate to someone else but this has to be pre-arranged.. by filling in a form at the Consulate!!!

The lower chamber (Assemblee nationale) is elected by the people but on a different instance and the Senate (Senat) is elected by mayors, councillors
and other "grands electeurs" (renewed by a third every three years, for a mandate of nine years.

So here we are only voting to elect our president and casting your vote is very simple. You are given a little blue envelope, you find on a table twelve piles of square pieces of paper each bearing the name of a candidate, you pick a few (or one of each), go to a booth, put the chosen name in the envelope, drop it in the box. Done.
At the end of the day the envelopes are opened, and the number of sheets of paper for each candidate counted. Not much room for fraud as observers from most parties are there.

When our new president is elected, he will nominate a Prime Minister of his choice. But the assembly will still be the same, which might be a problem if there's a big swing.

M.Benaut said...

Sounds like you will be up until 4am.
I'm trying to watch it on France 24 but the streaming of the video is hopeless.
Reuters, (en anglais) is better and works well. It's amazing how all of Europe, and the rest of the world, for that matter, is taking such an interest in this election. I'm scared that le Pen may make some sort of dash to the finishing line because the undecided voters may support him. Did you know that he was only two percentage points behind Chirac at the previous election? Scary.
If you can direct me to a news source that works better, (video perhaps), it would be nice to know.

I nearly forgot, Excellent photo, today, and excellent theme. You certainly had a bit of time in Market St! Merci.

Nick said...

A striking photograph. Nice work.

GiuCe said...

...i like these reflects, some french in sydney...

Keropok Man said...

Nice reflection!

I always skip the section about elections in the newspaper. But your reply to Sally is a good summary!

Chuckeroon said...

I fine oblique way to "photograph" the event. I hope that the outcome will lead to a France that is more at ease with itself, able to move forward on the really pressing issues. It's not comfortable having a much respected neighbour feeling ill.

richard said...

i think a lot of us could learn a lesson from the French public involvment and commitment to politics (I think I went on about this in another post).

NB this is a great photo, and curiously i see some (vague) echoes of Sacre Coeur

April said...

A great reflection shot.

julia said...

Liberty Equality Fraternity! The good vibes when expats get together; comaraderie in the far regions of the known world!
Nice to read your newsy comments, thanks Nathalie.

GMG said...

You'll have another chance tyo meet the French on May 6th: Sarkozy v. Royal...

M.Benaut said...

It's Monday morning and when you awaken, I hope your candidate was the successful one. If so, congratulations and celebrations. Thank you very much for sending me the link last night. It was appreciated. Now we can look forward to the next round in May.
Merci Nathalie.

hpy said...

Je reconnais la situation. Quand on a élu le président de Finlande il y a quelque temps, je suis allée voter à l'ambassade à Paris. Il y avait plein de gens qui faisaient la queue et qui discutaient. Beaucoup se connaissaient, mais je n'ai vu personne de ma connaissance. (Et ce n'est pas mon candidat qui a gagné.)

Norman said...

I'm curious how the local vote compared this time with the overall result, Nathalie, but haven't been able to catch those figures anywhere.

edwin s said...

Politics politics politics. You and I, the non-voters :)

Did you know, the QVB is owned by a Malaysian company?

Sally said...

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I really understand the process so much better now than ever before.

Run-off elections are sort of a bit like our preferential ballots, except you get 2 weeks to think about it, not moments!

Cergie said...

Et bien mon fils a voté... Tu te souviens, j'avais droit qu'à une procu
Mon fils est revenu voter et changer sa procu pour la donner à son père
On lui a dit : alors pourquoi avoir fait une procu à quelqu'un qui en avait déjà une ?
Je préfère passer...

C'est extraordianire en tout cas de vivre de tels moments à l'extérieur de son pays

La photo est sidérante Tu aimes les reflets et au pays du monde à l'envers tu es servie.
Le monde de l'autre coté de l'équateur, avec ces grandes façades vitrées, ces contrastes de bâtiments, courbes et rectilignes
Cela amène des contrastes de lignes justement assez extraordinaires...

Sally said...

edwin: Ipoh, yes? According to this site http://www.ipoh.com.au/IPOH/IPOH/me.get?site.sectionshow&PAGE001

Ipoh is now owned by GIC Real Estate pte Ltd through its Australian investment vehicle Reco Bay NSW.

GIC Real Estate pte Ltd is headquartered in Singapore, and is the real estate investment company of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation which manages the foreign reserves of Singapore.

So i guess the QVB is really owned by the Singapore Govt now!

edwin s said...

hey again Nathalie and Sally, I think GIC is run by the IGB group (Ipoh) and is based in Singapore. According to my very rich friends, the Malaysian money is floated here under all the other subsidiaries. That way, no Malaysian taxes have to be paid on overseas assets.

extra reading: http://www.ipoh.com.au/IPOH/IPOH/me.get?site.sectionshow&PAGE002

Ipoh is a city in Malaysia. That's where it began.

ruth said...

So is it Sarkozy and Royal? I was gone on the weekend, saw no news, and I can't find something now!! Poor Bayrou. :(