Habib wins 8th region of French Parliament in Israel

Valerie Hoffenberg from the right-wing UMP, who was favored to win, comes in second place with 791 votes.

June 10, 2013 05:41
2 minute read.
French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot

French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot 311 (R). (photo credit: Pool / Reuters)

Meir Habib of the independent UDI party received 1,346 votes from French voters in Israel on Sunday, in his race to be elected to the 8th region of the French Parliament, according to partial results from the French Embassy.

The second and final round of legislative elections was held on Sunday in the 8th Region of the French Parliament – the Assemblée Nationale – which represents French expats in Israel, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, San Marion and the Vatican.

Valerie Hoffenberg from the right-wing UMP, who was favored to win, came in second place with 791 votes, the embassy said.

Votes across the country were counted except for those from Jerusalem, but a spokeswoman said she did not believe this would impact the final result.

The first round of voting took place on May 26 with 20 candidates standing for election.

At the end of the first day’s voting, Hoffenberg led the contest with 2,479 votes, and Habib came in second place with 1,744.

In the May-June 2012 election, the French-Israeli Daphna Benhamou- Poznanski from the socialist PS was elected for the 8th Region to represent the French people living in the Mediterranean countries, altogether representing 111,736 potential votes.

Daphna Benhamou-Poznanski’s election was later contested and invalidated by the Conseil Constitutionnel, (as it had also been for the North-American vote) because her election campaign had not respected the extremely strict financial rules governing political parties in France. It was therefore decided to undertake a new election.

Electors could vote by Internet, mail or at the ballot box. Israel has the most electors of the 8th Region: 66,225 in total. Hoffenberg came second last year but only 7.8% of the electorate actually voted.

The very low turnout could be explained by the fact that Sunday in Israel is a working day.

Interviewed by The Jerusalem Post, French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot explained why “the debate was centered on Israel,” despite a low rate of participation in several voting places opened in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, Ashdod and Eilat, even though the election was held during hours especially adapted for Israelis (from 7 a.m.

to 7 p.m.).

According to Bigot, “the campaign focused on Israel because of the convergence of two phenomena: 57 percent of the electorate live in the country and that most of candidates are connected to Israel.”

The diplomat addressed all French citizens concerned, “whether they are from Israel or Italy, their voices and hopes are going to be represented now at the National Assembly,” he insisted on the innovating character of this election process which was held for the first time in June 2012.

“Let’s give time to this institution to prove itself and to last for its duration, since it’s a quite new process and there are very few countries in the world which allow their citizens abroad to be represented in their Parliament.”

The Post correspondent was in the Consulate talking to voters: “Valerie!” responded Irene Lindeman, a left-wing activist who had voted in the first election for Benhamou-Poznanski but this time transferred her vote to Habib: “My vote is absolutely anti-UMP in the best interests of Israel.”

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