Sunday 21 January 2018

Hopefully French voters in London didn't have plans today because they faced long queues at the polls

By Prudence Wade

Voting is stressful enough without having to wait hours to do so.

If you are a French expat living in London, hopefully you carry a good book around with you because voters had to queue for hours to exercise their democratic right.

British police officers were stationed around the polling stations in South Kensington as long queues wrapped around the block as people queued patiently – often with their children in tow – to cast their vote.

Eleven candidates are contesting Sunday’s first round of voting, with the front-runners including centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron, the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen, the Gaullist Francois Fillon and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Valentine Maury posted these pictures on Twitter with the caption: “Never seen queues like that…Voting in London is more a fight than a right. 4 hours to go…”

In the end, it took Maury two hours of queuing before placing her vote.

Edouard de Guitaut, volunteer president of one of the polling stations at the Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle, near the Natural History Museum in Kensington, said there had been a surge in registrations since the Brexit vote in June last year.

He said: “The French population (in the UK) has increased, in fact it increased quite massively. The number of French people who registered to vote here and registered their details at the French consulate increased by about 10% in the last year, post Brexit vote.”

Polling stations have also been set up in Wembley, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh for the large expatriate community to cast their votes, with 70 polling stations in total across the UK.

Press Association

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