While it often attracts media attention for its atypical aspects, the vote of French nationals abroad has rarely been the subject of in-depth fieldwork. This study of electoral dynamics in the ninth constituency of French citizens abroad (North Africa and West Africa) during the presidential and legislative elections of 2017 questions the constraints on the nomination process and candidacies, the transnational blurring of what is at stake during the election, and the effects of atypical campaigning in electoral archipelagos characterized both by their strong localism and their particular connection to broader geopolitical issues. This contribution shows how the meanings and stakes of extraterritorial voting are multivocal depending on the actors involved (candidates, voters, local media, authorities in the host country). Does overseas voting bring about a French community abroad or does it rather reveal the persistent differentiations at work between French communities according to origin, relationship to the “host” country and to “autochtony”, social status and the temporality of integration abroad?
Naffet Keita *
Gilles Holder *