Opposition candidate wins 1st round of regional vote for French parliament
search

Opposition candidate wins 1st round of regional vote for French parliament

The UMP’s Valérie Hoffenberg will now face off against CRIF vice president Meyer Habib in a June 9 run-off ballot

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Valerie Hoffenberg, center, next to prominent UMP politicians Claude Goasguen, left, and Jean-François Copé (photo credit: DR)
Valerie Hoffenberg, center, next to prominent UMP politicians Claude Goasguen, left, and Jean-François Copé (photo credit: DR)

A Jewish candidate from France’s leading opposition party comfortably won the first round of elections to the French parliament on Sunday and now has a good chance of representing French nationals living in Israel and seven other Mediterranean states.

Valérie Hoffenberg, a former head of the French branch of the American Jewish Committee, who ran for the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, received 2,479 votes, winning handsomely in a race with remarkably low voter turnout.

On June 9, Hoffenberg will face off in a second round of voting against the runner-up, Meyer Habib, the vice president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF). Habib, who entered the race for the small Union of Democrats and Independents, received 1,744 votes.

The candidate of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, Istanbul resident Marie-Rose Koro, came in third with 1,659 votes.

Since 2012, French expatriates send their very own regional constituency representatives to the National Assembly in Paris. Last year’s election was annulled because the winner — Franco-Israeli Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou, from the Socialists — was disqualified due to campaign funding irregularities.

French Ambassador Christophe Bigot, voting in Tel Aviv, May 26, 2013. (photo credit: courtesy French embassy)
French Ambassador Christophe Bigot, voting in Tel Aviv, May 26, 2013. (photo credit: courtesy French embassy)

The French diaspora is divided into 11 so-called conscriptions. Israel is part of the eighth conscription, together with Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican.

“It’s a system that was designed in order to strengthen the link, the interconnection, between France and the French diaspora around the world,” said Christophe Bigot, the French ambassador in Tel Aviv. “I am sure that whoever gets elected will carry a lot of influence within the French political system,” the ambassador told The Times of Israel last week, be it by proposing and voting for laws or by interacting with government officials.

Six candidates received fewer than 100 votes. Franco-Israel lawyer Guy Fitoussi got only 15

In the eight countries that make up the eight conscription, 111,736 French nationals were eligible to vote. Nearly 60 percent of them reside in Israel.

Overall, voter participation was at 10 percent. In Haifa, less then 5 percent cast a ballot; in Tel Aviv about 8 percent and in Jerusalem nearly 11 percent took advantage of their right to vote.

As Hoffenberg, who had the backing of leading UMP politicians in Paris, and Habib are preparing for the decisive second round of voting, some of the other contestants might want to ask themselves what they did wrong. Some candidates performed dismally by any standard: six candidates received fewer than 100 votes. Franco-Israeli lawyer Guy Fitoussi got only 15.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more:
comments