This past Sunday was a big day in France. For the second time this month, French people headed to the polls to elect the next President of France. And when the votes were tallied and the results were in, incumbent President Emmanuel Macron became the first French President in 20 years to be re-elected to a second term. Now, this is not a political website, so I’m not going to delve into the many issues that drove this election. However, I will say that I’m happy that someone who publicly expresses her admiration for Trump and Putin is not the next President of France. I will also say that this election was special for me. This was the French election that made me realize just how much I want to be French.
Learning a New System
I’ve only witnessed two elections since I moved to France. The first was in 2017 when I was still new to this country. I was still settling in. Still learning how things were done in France. For example, I was surprised to learn that French elections typically involve two rounds of voting. The first round is open to any candidate who meets the qualifications to run. There were 11 candidates who qualified in 2017, and if any one of them had received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, they would have automatically become the next President of France. However, as you can imagine, this rarely happens with so many candidates on the ballot. This is why French elections normally have two rounds of voting. The top two candidates from the first round advance to the second round for a runoff election.
Two French Elections, Five Years Apart
It would be easy to say that the 2022 election was simply a repeat of 2017. After all, the second round featured the same two candidates trying to win over voters. But these two elections couldn’t have been more different for so many reasons. The past five years have been tumultuous to say the least, and the issues at stake were both wide and varied. But politics aside, these two elections were also very different for me personally. In 2017 I was still an outsider, unsure of my future in France. I didn’t feel like I had a personal stake in the outcome, and therefore I watched it unfold more out of curiosity than out of a vested interest. I was still learning the system and deciding whether or not I wanted to be a part of it.
This time around, things could not have been more different. In the past five years I have settled in France in every way that matters. I have started a business here, I pay taxes here. I have a wallet full of cards and documentation that are proof of the deep ties that I now have to this country. Health card. Residency card. Driver’s licence. France and I are in it for the long haul. This is my home, which is why this election was such a different experience from five years ago. It didn’t bother me then that I couldn’t vote. This year however? I was itching to cast a ballot.
Looking Ahead to the 2027 French Election
I still have a long way to go before I can call myself fully French. I still have a lot to learn, and sadly, I still have a lot of paperwork to file. But next year I will finally be eligible to apply for my citizenship and I can’t wait. I love living in France, and this election made me realize just how deep that love goes. I don’t just want to live here. I want to fully participate in civic life as a citizen. Hopefully I’ll get to do just that in the 2027 French elections. After all, I spend half my life reading about France’s history. It’s exciting to think that someday soon I could be a part of that history.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.