World News: French Elections Voter Turnout Reaches All-Time Low

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The record abstention that marked the regional and departmental electoral event raises questions about the reasons that push citizens to flee the ballot boxes. From now on, it is necessary to identify the causes and the necessary solutions to be proposed.

Some people, and rightly so, were concerned about the abstention rate that marked both of them from the regional and departmental elections held on the last two Sundays in June. Some, often the same, have cried out for the crisis of democracy, for the rejection by the readership of the political class as a whole, while this election was the space for a form of resurrection of old political parties such as the Socialist Party and The Republicans and of politics in general.

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The observation made in the wake of this electoral deadline, which many saw as a trial run, or even a warm-up, in view of the presidential election, does not, however, question the value of political staff struck by a mediocrity that is also reflected in the ballot box but by a growing loss of the meaning of the notion of citizenship.

The political comfort that democracy confers on each of us, the stable legal framework of the Republic, far from being in danger today as it could be at the end of the nineteenth century or the beginning of the twentieth century, thus tends to enclose the citizens in a bubble that is slowly detaching itself, election after election, from the social and civic reality of the country.

Meaning, Personal Ambitions and General Interest

Concretely and practically, ignorance of the basic principles underlying the Republic and democracy has become the main driver of abstention. Accusing voters of fleeing the various elections would only make sense if they were aware of the weight of their vote, of its civic duty and of the democratic value it assumes.

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The lack of knowledge of the history of democracy, of the struggles that have accompanied it to impose itself, of the egalitarian and libertarian principles that it calls for are in no way heard today by an electoral body disillusioned and ensnared in the comfort of free regimes that many believe to be successful.

However, it is in no way because the hidden fight against democracy and the Republic that retaliates abstention works at every electoral event that is missed at its loss. So the question is how to send the electorate back to the polls? Several solutions could humbly be put forward, starting with an intellectual improvement of the political personality, which is too often inhabited by personal ambitions than by the general interest.

The second round of the regional election highlighted this reality. Working towards a society of intelligence and not superficiality can also be a way of empowering the electorate. This notion of failing responsibility, which feeds these record abstention rates, certainly appears to be the Gordian knot of this situation, which, more than a crisis of democracy, is proving to be a deep and open societal crisis.

Paradox and Fundamental Freedoms

The consummate split between voters who are imbued, in the minority, with democratic and republican principles and those who are now in the majority, detached from political life, is such that the solutions put forward here or elsewhere are in danger of appearing to be derisory in order to resolve the problem noted.

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A grotesque paradox or irony of fate, in a society that claims more rights every day for the sake of individual satisfaction and protection, the fundamental right to express one's opinion through the vote is today being flouted and despised. Does this mean that the struggles that have prevailed to establish the right to vote no longer have a grip on a growing part of society? Does this mean that the history of democracy no longer makes sense?

It will be up to everyone to provide an answer to both answers, but the rate of abstention from the election now passed suggests that many voters have turned their backs on many fundamental freedoms that have certainly been acquired but that must be defended on a daily basis.

If the Republic is not in danger, far from it, the denial of fundamental principles which support it participate in an underlying way in its devaluation and its discrediting as a presidential election looms more open than ever.

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Bio: Olivier Longhi an opinion columnist for, has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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