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When people of Puducherry voted for a French president

French nationals residing in the Union territory of , Tamil Nadu and Kerala cast their votes on Sunday in round two to choose between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen as their President.

Polling began at 8am and concluded at 7pm at six polling stations in four locations - two in Puducherry and one each in Chennai and Karaikal set up by the French Consulate in Puducherry. There are 4,564 French citizens in the Union territory of Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. France offers its citizens living abroad, who are over 18 years of age and have registered on the electoral list in the consulate general of France to vote in person in their country of residence. They can vote for the presidential elections, referendums, legislative elections, European elections and elections of the councillors of French citizens abroad.

"The election this year turned out to be a low-key affair. There will be debates between the contestants, on issues that will impact the lives of the citizens for the next five years or more," said consular council president Chantal SamuelDavid based in Puducherry. But this time, due to the Covid19 pandemic and the present war in Ukraine, there was no real campaigning, she said. The incumbent (Macron) refused to debate with other contestants about his plans for the country, said the officer.

"We cannot write off Marine Le Pen. Unlike her father, who was against immigration and vocal against Muslims, she follows a policy of not hurting the sentiments of different sections of people openly. She has become more polished and made it sound like she is politically correct," said Anand Pakiam, a French entrepreneur settled in Puducherry


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