Martinique: Election, tension and abstention

On Sunday March 14th, all French citizens including those in the four French overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion) were asked to vote for the regional elections and the regional assembly in charge of devolved powers such as planning adult professional training, building and funding public high schools, financing and promoting cultural projects.

The vote took place in a very busy electoral period: Martinicans were asked to decide for more autonomy in their department, only in January.

Two major elections in a three-month period may have been too much for the 55.55% of Martinican voters who decided to stay home and not vote, as shown by Bondamanjak's post [Fr].

Blogger Evolution Martinique comments on [Fr] this high abstention figure:

Le grand vainqueur de ce 1er tour, est à l’évidence le taux record d’abstention (plus de 55%) […].

The winner of the 1st round is obviously the surprisingly high abstention rate (more than 55%) […].

In the same post, the blogger also gives possible reasons to explain why people resorted to abstention:

1. La répétition soutenue des consultations et des scrutins sur une période très dense entre le 10 janvier et le 14 mars.

2. La question du statut institutionnel aura été un enjeu majeur aux yeux des électeurs, reléguant les régionales dans la sphère de la politique politicienne.

3. La qualité bien terne du débat et des propositions politiques de même que le climat délétère dans lequel se déroula cette campagne.

4. Le choix incongru du vote au 2ième tour.

1. The repetition of ballots in a very short period from January 10th to March 14th.

2. The issue of the institutional status must have been more important in the eyes of the citizens, whereas the regional elections are considered as politicking.

3. The low quality of the debate and of the political programs as well as the noxious atmosphere of the campaign.

4. The incongruous choice of voting for the 2nd round.

Martinican blogger [moi]'s playground shares her opinion about the first round of the elections, in a post which details the results for each list, along with her personal comments. Incidentally, she sums up the central stake of this election in Martinique [Fr]:

Trois listes se maintiennent donc pour un second tour ou le duel Marie-Jeanne/Letchimy annoncé va connaître son épilogue.

Three lists are still in for the second round, in which the legendary duel between Marie-Jeanne and Letchimy will meet its end.

The same duel is acknowledged by Bondamanjak in a post entitled “André Lesueur, la troisième voix” (André Lesueur, the third voice).

Both [moi] and Bondamanjak comment on the significant decrease of right-wing voters in Martinique. She wonders [Fr]:

Depuis combien de temps la droite ne s’était pas retrouvée à un second tour d’élections régionales ?

Since when hasn't the right-wing qualified for the second round of regional elections?

A comment to Bondamanjak‘s post says [Fr]:

Juan […] j'ajouterai
pour terminer que la droite pour moi est menacée d'inutilité politique.

Juan […] to conclude, I'd say that in my opinion the right wing is threatened by political uselessness.

The remarks made by Martinican bloggers concerning the poor quality of the campaigns, the tiredness of the population with elections and the difficult position of the right-wing parties is not an exclusive feature of the overseas departments, since mainland French elections followed the very same pattern, as this post by French blogger Ma Liberté, explains.

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