A Bilbao aims for the National Assembly


José Miguel Sánchez appears with the party Union of Centrists and Ecologists in the fifth constituency of the French abroad

José Miguel Sánchez Pérez wants to become a member of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament. At the age of 59, he is running for the parliamentary elections on 12 and 19 June. He is a candidate for the Union of Centrists and Ecologists (UCE) in the fifth constituency of the French abroad, which includes residents of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Monaco.

Born in Bilbao but living in France for more than 30 years, this environmental candidate can run for election because he holds dual Spanish and French nationality. You do not have to live in Spain to apply for the seat. “I want to become a deputy because I have very strong convictions to defend the values ​​of ecology,” he explains to this paper. “If we manage to make ecology one day, neither right, left, nor center, we will have won a great battle,” adds the candidate, emphasizing his party’s challenge: “a pragmatic, realistic and social ecology”.

In France, Sánchez, married to a Spanish woman and with two daughters born in the neighboring country, has fulfilled his “childhood dream, namely to explore”, something which, he explains, was more difficult in Spain in terms of ecology and environment. He is research director at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the main research institution in France. It has a lot of ties to the constituency. He regularly travels to Bilbao and has participated in many inter-regional projects in Spain and Portugal. He is also president of the Athletic Club de Toulouse supporters’ club.

It is not easy for him in these elections. He will compete for the seat against 11 other candidates, including Manuel Valls, former prime minister of France and former city councilor of Barcelona. The former socialist lives between Paris, Barcelona and Menorca. Valls, 59, is running in the elections as a candidate for the party of President Emmanuel Macron and his allies. “A case of political skydiving that’s a bit strange,” Sánchez said. If Valls were to win the seat, it would mean his return to French politics after a four-year absence due to his frustrated Catalan adventure.

Outgoing deputy Stéphane Vojetta, a dissident of La República en Marcha, Emmanuel Macron’s party, is also a candidate for that seat. He has refused to withdraw from the National Assembly race to make way for Valls, despite the fact that the French president has chosen the former prime minister as his candidate in Spain and Portugal.

The division of the votes of La República and Marcha and the unpopularity of Valls among many voters would have to say that Renaud Le Berre, candidate of Ecologist Europe-The Greens (EELV), who is running for these elections as a candidate of the left-wing parties union, can favor (Nupes). La Berre and Sánchez dispute the ecological vote.

Since 2012, French residents abroad can choose their delegates to represent them in the National Assembly. These deputies, 11 out of 577 in the House of Representatives, like their 12 senators in the Senate, defend the interests of French expatriates on issues such as taxes, pensions, teaching French abroad or consular issues.

“One of my struggles is to make consular services less technocratic. You have to simplify things. That the consulates are at the service of expats,” explains Sánchez, who promises that if he wins the seat, he will be a deputy “listening to the citizens who elected me”. His bad experience with the Consulate of Spain in Toulouse when it comes to carrying out administrative procedures, could help him improve the service provided by the French consulates in Spain.

Legislative elections are two rounds. Residents of France abroad can vote in the polls, online, by post or by proxy. There are about 150 candidates for the 11 constituencies at stake abroad.

Of the 1.15 million French people registered on the consular electoral lists, some 250,000 have already voted ‘online’ in the first round. About 20,000 have done so in the fifth constituency. Although not everyone who wanted to vote electronically has been able to do so because of technical difficulties.

This Sunday, French residents of Spain will be able to vote at the polls in consulates. In France, the first round will take place on June 12. French expats will again have the option to vote online in the second round or do it in person on June 19, like the rest of the French, to decide who will represent them in the National Assembly for the next five years.

Source: La Verdad


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