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Jean-Marc Ayrault cautiously revives proposal to give foreigners the right to vote

Translated Thursday 31 January 2013, by Richard Pond and reviewed by Derek Hanson

The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, announced on Tuesday that he would consult both government and opposition political groups to check whether it was possible to gather the majority needed to grant foreign nationals the right to vote in local elections.

In Ayrault’s words, the announcement was as follows: "I am going to begin meetings with parliamentary groups from the majority and from the opposition concerning all the constitutional issues that could be objectives of a constitutional reform, and I shall check regarding this point as well as other points whether there is the possibility of a three-fifths majority in Parliament." The prime minister also made reference to the reform of the constitutional role of the President.

Three fifths of the members of parliament

The prime minister’s work on Tuesday made sure that President Hollande’s campaign promise was not buried, even if the President explained in November that he would carry out this reform only once he was assured of obtaining the required majority of three-fifths of Parliament.

We are still a long way from fulfilling campaign commitment number 50 as proclaimed in the presidential candidate’s election manifesto a year ago: "I will grant the right to vote in local elections to foreigners legally resident in France for five years [or more]."

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