“Voting Left, Right…or White”
Sunday was relatively quiet on the streets as voters lined up once again to cast their ballots for one (or none) of the two presidential candidates, Socialist “Ségo” (Ségolène Royal) or Conservative “Sarko” (Nicolas Sarkozy).
Voters in France have the right to a protest vote of abstention, or “vote blanche,” which of course, is no vote at all. In yesterday’s race, 3.5% chose to do so. This wasn’t surprising as many people I spoke to prior to Sunday’s final round was still undecided about the candidates.
It was fascinating to speak to the French about this important decision they were about to make. Youngish men (30 to 50 years old) seemed anxious to vote for a woman who represented real change, but the young entrepreneurs I know, although they were fearful of Sarkozy’s bold strokes, felt he would improve the economy and ability to do business. Anyone business person in France who deals with employment and taxation issues is anxious to change the current (what I call) “constipated” system which impedes the ability to hire and fire at will, thereby contributing to the high employment.
As you already know by virtue of the headlines on newspapers and Web sites across the globe, the gentleman beat the lady with 53.2% of the vote and will be France’s 6th president. Keeping with normal trends, a whopping 84.9% of the French voting population made it to the polling booths, in spite of the beautiful weather and holiday weekend. Tuesday is yet another May holiday — “Victory day,” when World War II ended — another good excuse to “faire le pont.” This is also keeping with French tradition, to take the Monday off work as well as Tuesday enabling a long weekend of holiday bliss. (We Westerners will be working.)
In my district (3rd arrondissement), 86.2% came out to the polls, 17.1% abstained and Royal took 57.1% of the votes. That says a lot about the kind of neighbors I have, compared with the Bourgeois 16th arrondissement where Sarkozy took 80.8% of the vote.
Last night, while the votes were being counted and France was preparing to both rejoice and protest, a substantial group of French Property Insider subscribers called into the free conference call themed “What’s Hot and What’s Not…An Insider’s View on Where to Buy Property in Paris” with me and the FPI search team, Elizabeth Hochman and Mary Ellen Gallagher.
Cities and states across North America were represented — Texas, Georgia, California, Nebraska, Ontario — but everyone had the same dream…to own a piece of Paris and make it more a part of their lives. We talked about the current property prices and the trends by district — which would yield the best return on investment, depending on each person’s goals.
Will the “reign” of Nicolas Sarkozy make a difference to their dream to live and invest in France? If he strengthens the economy and reforms overzealous tax laws, then perhaps yes! But there is one concept that will always resonate with the French: fear of change.
And of course, it’s one reason we love France, too. Their fear of change is what holds on to traditional values and esthetics we have come to appreciate. I’m just
glad I didn’t have the right to vote and therefore didn’t feel the need to make a decision, because it was tough.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Thursday night we’ll be discussing the “What’s Hot and What’s Not…An Insider’s View on Where to Buy Property in Paris” with me and the FPI search team, Elizabeth Hochman and Mary Ellen Gallagher during a 1.5 hour Group Consultation at 6:30 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. It’s free to FPI subscribers ($49.50 for a one year subscription) or 50€ at the door to non-subscribers. Subscribe now and register to participate by clicking here: /frenchproperty/insider or emailing [email protected]
P.P.S. Due to the holiday, Parler Paris Après Midi will take place on May 15th at 3 p.m. Don’t miss it! Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.