June 2017 will see each of the 577 French legislative constituencies choose a deputy (equivalent to a member of Congress) to represent them at the National Assembly for the next five years. French people living in North America will elect their representative from 17 candidates on June 3 and 17.
We can predict with some certainty which two main candidates in North America will be battling it out for a seat at the National Assembly: Frédéric Lefebvre, the outgoing deputy from the Les Républicains party, and Roland Lescure, representing Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche ! movement. The same elections five years ago rallied no more than 12.47% of the French citizens registered at the consulates in the U.S.A., and Lefebvre won with 53.75% of the votes — or 6.45% of the registered French voters. Most French people living abroad had little idea they could — for the very first time — choose a deputy to represent them.
This time should be different, judging by the major turnout for the recent Presidential elections which saw 44.35% of people registered. We are unlikely to witness the same impressive scores on June 3 and 17 [French people in France will vote on June 11 and 18], but many who voted for Macron — who won comfortably in Canada and the United States — will want to elect Lescure to give the new president a fresh majority. Those wallowing in nostalgia for former candidate François Fillon, and the more conservative — in the American sense of the term — will prefer to vote Lefebvre back in.
As there is a local dimension to any election, Lescure will have to convince voters he will represent French people in the United States, despite living in Montreal. And while he is a banker, he will have to listen to the down-to-earth, modest demands of French expatriates worried about fees for education, healthcare and pensions. French citizens in North America are generally more rightwing than those in France, but this election will pit renewal against tradition instead of right against left. The result is therefore uncertain on both sides of the Atlantic.