Nathalie Coggia She combines her professional career as financial director with her dedication to La República En Marcha, the movement of the president of France, Emmanuel Macron. Coggia, who is responsible for the party for the Iberian Peninsula and a member of the executive in France, analyzes for LA RAZÓN the profile of the French voter abroad.
How has the vote of French citizens abroad been?
In general, the majority of French people who live abroad voted for Emmanuel Macron. If in the second round, the president got 58% at the national level, abroad he got 86%.
And in Spain?
84%. In Portugal it has been somewhat lower (75%), due to the fact that a profile of French retirees residing in the Algarve has opted for Marine Le Pen, and the Portuguese average has dropped a little. Of course there are French people abroad who vote for Le Pen, in Spain, there has been, for example, a significant part of the French community in Alicante who has done so. However, in general, it is very difficult for a Gallic citizen abroad to opt in favor of someone who promotes the concept of “national preference”, which implies discriminating against foreign citizens, including Europeans– in access to accommodation, employment and social aid… In other words, for Le Pen, as a foreigner you have the right to contribute but not to benefit from the social protection system.
How did it go in the first round?
In the first round, worldwide, Macron won with 45%, Mélenchon came second with 22% and Le Pen only managed 5%. In Spain, Macron achieved 40%, in second position was Mélenchon (22%) and Le Pen barely got 7%, that is, she would not have made it to the second round!
Is Le Pen interested in voting abroad?
Zemmour has campaigned abroad, while Le Pen has not. However, the ultra candidate barely got 8-9%. For his part, Le Pen has not worried about anything or made a program for the French abroad. We do not exist, we are traitors who have left France for tax reasons and/or to take away talent from the country. Zemmour has campaigned on social media with a focus on the French diaspora, which is why it was relatively successful for a new party. Here in Spain it achieved 10% in the first round.
Depending on the Spanish geography, does the vote change?
In the first round, the vote was not homogeneous despite the fact that Macron won with 40.3% and Mélenchon was second. For example, in Barcelona, Jannick Yadot, the Greens’ candidate, came third, while in Madrid it was Zemmour. It is also true that the French from Barcelona, which is more in transit, is not the same as the one from Madrid, which is more established.
Has there been a lot of abstention in Spain?
Abstention abroad is always higher, because it is also more difficult to vote. For the presidential ones, there is no electronic or correspondence vote, it is in person on the same day of the elections, although there is the possibility of giving a proxy to another voter (but the procedure to do so is also in person – one of Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for the French abroad is to delve into the digitization of the most common procedures such as the renewal of passports, for example). In the second round, abstention was 63%. It is usually like this abroad and more so in countries like those in Africa, for example, where it is more complicated to move.
In Portugal and Spain, the European Union is key for the voter?
Yes. What’s more, one of the issues that most concerns voters outside of France is Europe and ecology. And Europe is as much for French citizens residing in other EU countries as it is for those outside the community club (since they are considered European citizens). Ecology is now transcendental. During our worldwide campaign, we have 11 constituencies outside of France (of about 100,000-150,000 French registered), two of the themes that we had to promote the most in our actions were these.
Did the Russian invasion of Ukraine influence?
It is still early, we are still collecting data, but we have realized that the French in Moscow have mostly voted for Le Pen. It is not only due to the lack of free media, but also because we believe that those who voted for Macron have already had to leave the country. Abroad in general, the invasion of Ukraine has reinforced the idea that we need leaders like Macron to protect us from the aggressions and nefarious actions of certain illiberal regimes.
The big question: is there a party without Macron?
Yes. The Republic on the March is a party with many “marcheurs” (“walkers”, the militants of On the March) including abroad. Moreover, in Spain we are the only French political force that has representation and committees in the main large cities of Spain. It is true that we still have a way to go, we are a young party, in the regional and municipal elections in France, we did not get the result we expected. We need more “local anchorage”. But as a movement, over the last 5 years, we have structured ourselves, and now we have elected officials everywhere. In five years, we will be better prepared and there will be a presidential candidate with full legitimacy and the potential to win, even if it cannot be Emmanuel Macron (since by law he cannot run for a third term).
Is it possible to trace a profile of French in Spain?
There is no exact profile. It’s very diverse. Some of us have come for professional reasons, others to retire, or to study or for Erasmus, or even for love. At all ages of life there is a good reason to come to Spain. It is a neighboring country, a friend, with enormous ties… Even children of Spanish immigrants who want to return here to be with their family or have a job opportunity arise… In the same way that there are many Spaniards in France.