Israeli citizen to win seat in French parliament

2 Israeli women contend over France's 8th voting district; election marks 1st time in history an Israeli will serve in Paris.

By JOSEPH STRICH
June 17, 2012 01:44
2 minute read.
French flags

French flags 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman)

 
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For the first time in history, an Israeli citizen will serve in the French parliament.

The second and final round of the elections to the National Assembly is being held on Sunday.

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Either Israeli candidate Valerie Hoffenberg, representing the UMP, the center-right party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, or Israeli candidate Daphna Poznanski- Benhamou, who is a member of the Socialist Party of President François Hollande, will be elected to the eighth voting district. The new district represents French citizens who live outside of French territory in Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Saint-Marin, the Vatican and Turkey.

The two Israeli women are the only candidates who made it to the second round.

A third candidate, Philippe Karsenty, won the majority of Israeli votes in the first round, but did not garner enough votes for the region as a whole to continue on.

Israel has the largest French population among these countries, more than 60,000. The first round of elections outside of French territory was held on June 3, one week before the first round in France. On Sunday, voters both in metropolitan France and overseas will go to the polls. Dual citizens will get 11 seats, out of the total of 577.

Karsenty, who was supported by the UMP, called in an email to Israeli voters not to support Hoffenberg, since she was “one of the main obstacles to the revelation of the al- Dura affair in France,” a “battle” that he promised to continue against France 2 TV and its correspondent in Israel, Charles Enderlin.



Karsenty supports Poznanski- Benhamou, he said, in order “to help the Socialist Party be independent of the extremist parties,” referring to the extreme Left.

Hollande and his Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault should gain an absolute majority on Sunday, despite a smear campaign marked by gossip about the prime minister’s girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler. On Twitter last Tuesday, Trierweiler called for voters in La Rochelle to vote for Socialist challenger Olivier Falorni, who is running against Hollande’s ex-companion, Socialist Segolene Royal, in a runoff for a National Assembly seat.

According to polls, this affair will have no impact on the elections, and the Socialist Party will not need the parties further to the left, the Left Front and the Green party, to get its legislative agenda passed in the parliament.

The crisis of the euro zone may require unpopular measures with support from leftwing allies, whose positions on Europe are far from those of the Socialist Party.

If Hollande and Ayrault win an absolute majority, they will be able to follow through on the promises they made during their campaign, for widespread social and economic changes seen as crucial for the future of both France and Europe.

The UMP refused any deal with the Socialist Party in order to bar the way to the extreme Right, including the National Front. After the elections, the UMP will need to choose a new leader after Sarkozy.

According to a poll conducted by the IPSOS Institute, the Socialists could win between 298 and 331 seats (289 are needed for an absolute majority) and the UMP is estimated to garner between 210 and 250 seats, its worst in 30 years.

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