French nationals Pondicherry and Chennai voted for the presidential election in France

French nationals residing in the union territory of Pondicherry (a former French colony) and Chennai cast their ballots in the country’s presidential elections on Sunday.

As many as 4,564 French citizens from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry are eligible to exercise their right to vote in the first round of elections in France, official sources said. Voting began at 8 a.m. and would continue until 7 p.m.

“France offers its citizens abroad over the age of 18 and registered on the electoral list at the Consulate General of France here to vote in person in the country of residence, the possibility of voting in the presidential election, referendums, legislative elections, European elections and the election of advisers to French people living abroad,” said a press release.

While the region of Pondicherry has two voting booths housed in the premises of the Consulate General of France and in the French High School, Karaikal and Chennai each have a polling station.

A number of young and old voters showed up at the voting booths on Sunday morning. A 22-year-old voter told PTI that she was taking a course at a college affiliated with the University of Pondicherry and it was her first time practicing her franchise.

Elderly women were also among those who voted at a booth in the office of the French consul general. An 81-year-old woman was seen being helped by a rickshaw driver into the voting booth.

Meanwhile, a large number of people eligible to vote have exercised their right to vote in Chennai.

The Consul General of France, Lise Talbot Barre, visited the Alliance Francaise de Madras – the Indo-French cultural center in Chennai and inspected the arrangements for holding the polls.

The Alliance Francaise premises are the only polling station in Chennai while voting is taking place in Pondicherry (two centres) and Karaikal (one), sources said.

No less than 12 candidates from different political parties are in the running in the first round. According to sources, if no candidate obtains an absolute majority of the votes cast in the first round on Sunday, a second round will be held between the two best candidates on April 24, sources said.

On November 21, with the help of the local authorities, the Consulate General of France in Pondicherry and the Office of France in Chennai organized elections which made it possible to appoint the advisers of the French in the consular district for a term of six years.

Posted: Sunday April 10th 2022, 6:27 PM IST