Apathy dogs new French election

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Apathy dogs new French election

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The papers are full of the parliamentary election now underway in France elections and broadcast media have done their best too. But public apathy remains high, sparking a debate about the wisdom of running such an important ballot so close to the presidency. The second round of that poll was on May 6, just over a month ago.

Our correspondent Gianni Magi has been out and about in Paris, gauging feeling among voters – and abstainers.

“Why aren’t you going to vote?” he asked one man.

“Well because the current systems don’t allow for real changes in power and because the French political class follows the same policy,” was the answer.

Asked what they expected from the new National Assembly, one man replied: “Firstly I hope that it won’t contradict with the choice the French made a month ago because the climate at a European level and above all in France is complicated and it would create instability for the future and wouldn’t solve any problems I don’t think.”

Another added: “I expect a lot from the new parliament. I expect it to organise new things for the people, to keep us better informed and to pass legislation a lot more quickly.”

The Socialists already control the upper house of parliament. If the Right manages to prevent them from obtaining a workable majority in the lower house, it would not only affect matters at home – it would also weaken Hollande’s negotiating position with other European leaders as he pushes for more growth and less austerity to tackle the eurozone crisis.