Well, we didn’t win any seats, but we got 35% of the votes. Now I understand why established minorities like the British Liberal Party keep rabbiting on about proportional representation. We also created a free ‘spectacle’ for the members of the Meuzac commune. Since there was competition for the first time in 13 years, nearly 200 people turned up on a day when it was cold and pouring with rain, to watch the votes being counted.
The fun thing about elections in small communes (around 700 voters in our case) is that the procedure is a little more informal. In big communes, there is one big list with all the candidates’ names on it, and you tick boxes to vote. In our case, each of the two groups provided a list of 15 candidates for the 15 places. Each voter picked up one copy of each list, then disappeared into a voting booth. Once hidden away, he/she could do any one of the following:
- put one list in the envelope and throw the other away (vote for an entire team)
- put both lists in the envelope (vote for both teams in their entirety – first past the post wins, so exces votes do no harm)
- draw a line through the name of anyone they did not wish to vote for (leaving any number of undeleted names)
- any of the ablove, AND add names of their own choosing
The last option has occasionally resulted in the selection of a candidate who did not stand. Opinions differed as to whether the reluctant winner had the option of refusing to accept the honour…
Well, the election is over. We’ve had fun. I’ve not only found 14 new friends, but made myself known to a whole bunch of vilagers, 170 of whom even voted for me. Can’t complain.
We got on so well together that we plan to gather from time to time, and perhaps to find other ways of making our mark…