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Voter apathy in Normandy

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Voter apathy in Normandy

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The village of la Croix-Avranchin, in France’s Normandy region, has 504 voters. But in the last European Parliamentary elections less than a quarter of them cast a ballot. The mayor is doing what he can to raise that.

Rural involvement — or lack of it — contributes to the pollsters’ predicted overall 60-65 percent abstention rate in France. What is Brussels to the village of la Croix-Avranchin? The mayor, Serge Ameline, said: “Our voters find Brussels far away. Not only in kilometres but in terms of what goes on there. I think there’s a lack of communication.” He has put up the panels provided for political party posters. But none are pasted up, and voting here will be on Sunday. European agricultural subsidies ensure the community’s 18 farmers are paying attention. In the current economic climate, they are struggling. One said: “Farmers have had a lot to say for far too long, and it stayed in the countryside. It’s brewing up, and we can see it’s reaching a breaking point now. I will go and vote. I haven’t for a long time.” The European election is raising little excitement, locally. Saturday’s commemoration of the D-Day landings in Normandy seems to be stirring more interest, with its star visitor — President Obama.