Hollande in Paris-on-the-Thames

Frecnh presidential frontrunner François Hollande went to London yesterday, campaigning in a city with som many French residents that it’s often called Paris-on-the-Thames.  A clip from The Guardian above shows Hollande meeting with the UK Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband at King’s College, London.

Traditionally, most French voters based in the UK have been based in London and, in particular, the City of London, home to London’s financial industry, one of the world’s centers of global finance.  With over 400,000 French residents, it is home to more French citizens than all but Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, and typically, those French voters have leaned to the right.

But that may be changing.  With a more subdued financial industry and ever-closer links across Europe, French citizens in London these days are less likely to be global bankers than everyday people studying, teaching or working outside the City.

A total of 53,268 voters in the United Kingdom participated in the 2007 election, of which 53.3% voted for Sarkozy.  Hollande has called for a 75% tax on the richest French citizens, closing various tax loopholes and for tighter regulation of banks and finance in Europe, positions that are not exactly popular in the City.

Globally speaking, as a chart in the France24 article linked above demonstrates, the UK isn’t the largest pool of expatriate French voters, even in Europe.  In 2007, the largest number of expatriate votes came from Swizterland (76,597), of which 57.3% supported Sarkozy.  The 56,533 voters in Germany split 59.1% in favor of Parti socialiste candidate (and then-partner of Hollande) Ségolène Royal.  In Spain, 51,697 voters split 50-50, while in Belgium, 48,596 voters went 53.7% for Sarkozy.  North America brought a split verdict as well — the second-largest group of expat voters, those living in the United States, supported Sarkozy by 63.7%, while the 46,330 voters in Canada went 53.9% for Royal. Perhaps surprisingly, the greatest number of expat voters in Africa live in Algeria, where a robust 23,255 voters voted 80.5% for Royal.

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