This project is about citizenry and community development and during the last weeks I was researching the image of citizenry in France to better understand the framework in which civic actions takes place.
I talked with a lot of people about civic rights and duties and got confirmed my impression when writing the project: people don’t see much possibilities to change politics on a large-scale as most of the politicians “are living in another world” but many are still trying to change something on a local/regional level.
It was quite surprising for me to realize how formalized civic actions in France are, nearly everything happens under the roof of associations.
The most common understanding of a citizens’ right is the right to vote. Today, citizens of about 36.000 communes in France elect new municipal councils (France has by far the most communes in Europe, Germany has about 12.000) and communes are still largely perceived as the base of local democracy and decision-making. Citizens, especially in rural areas, are very attached to their commune and they have always tended to care a great deal about local politics and local democracy.
I voted for the first time in France and I was somehow excited about having the possibility to express my will for further local development.
However, to me the pre-election period was somehow unusual. There was no election campaign, no program discussions, no meeting, but the candidate mayor went from door to door to hand over the list of candidates. There was only one list to vote about, no idea how to get on it 😉
Just two weeks ago, I found another flyer with a list of foreseen activities for the next 6 years in our letter box. I would like have had the possibility to discuss these openly with the candidates and learn HOW they want to realize all these wonderful sounding ideas. To be fair, I could have called a phone number, printed on the list of candidates and on the program. Which I haven’t done as I don’t see such conversation as a democratic process, yes, still believe in democracy, on local level 😉
Only valid votes and non-voters will be count. The so-called “vote blanc”, changed or crossed through ballots, are not counted. Also quite strange: you have to sign that you voted.
However, I am looking forward to the results of this election and how that will impact the further development of Fitou. I intend to be a more active citizen.
The project offers the great possibility to discuss with people from Italy, Romania, Czech Republic and UK their understanding of citizenry and community. A roundtable will be held at 11th April 2014 and two workshops will be performed about communication and understanding communities at 12th April 2014.
Come and join us!