French Nationals in Senegal Face Voting Challenges for Legislative Elections

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As France prepares for its anticipated legislative elections on June 30th and July 7th, concerns are rising among the French community in Senegal. The elections follow President Emmanuel Macron’s dissolution of the National Assembly, a move triggered by the results of the European elections. In Senegal, where 17,000 French citizens are registered to vote, logistical barriers are causing significant anxiety.

In Senegal, the lack of voting centers outside Dakar and Saly poses a major hurdle for French expatriates. During the 2022 presidential elections, additional polling stations were available in Saint-Louis and Ziguinchor. However, for the upcoming legislative elections, voters residing in regions like Saint-Louis, Matam, Tambacounda, and Ziguinchor face the challenge of traveling long distances to cast their votes.

Birahima Camara, president of the Association of French Nationals in Senegal, living near Matam, has taken up the issue with the French Consul. He highlights the difficulties faced by French citizens in these regions, emphasizing the need for decentralized voting locations.

Camara voices the community’s concerns: “Many of our fellow French nationals in the regions of Saint-Louis, Matam, Tambacounda, and Ziguinchor are physically unable to travel to Dakar to vote. There is a need to decentralize polling locations to allow people to exercise their voting rights.” He further stresses that failing to do so would undermine the democratic principles of the French Republic, particularly in light of the rising influence of far-right parties in France.

He continues, “We fear for our personal rights and our rights as French citizens. France should treat all its citizens equally and enable them to vote. Excluding some from the process is neither republican nor democratic.”

In the immediate term, there is an option for online voting. French citizens can vote online for the first round between June 25th and 27th, and for the second round from July 2nd to 4th. This provision offers some respite but does not fully address the issue of physical polling stations.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly on June 9, 2024, following the far-right’s victory in the European elections, significantly ahead of the presidential majority. This decision has set the stage for the upcoming legislative elections.


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