Sunday 23 April 2017 will be an important days for French nationals in Brighton. Under the aegis of the French Honorary Consul, Captain François Jean, they will be going to vote in the first round (premier tour) of the French presidential elections. Their ballot boxes (urnes) will be at the Mercure Hotel in Brighton.
Commandant François JEAN, the present French Honorary Consul for Brighton and East Sussex, has kindly supplied the following information about the present-day French community in Brighton:
Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’il y aura un bureau de vote à Brighton. Concernant les statistiques elles ne représentent pas la réalité, il y a beaucoup de français résidents dans la région qui ne sont pas inscrits au registre des français établis hors de France auprès du Consulat Général à Londres. Dans ma circonscription qui regroupe SO, PO, BN il y a 3693 inscrits, dont 1828 pour BN. …
L’Agence Consulaire de Brighton est très ancienne et se déplace selon le lieu de résidence du Consul en exercice, nous n’avons pas de représentation officielle, bureaux etc. sur Brighton.
Les Consuls Honoraires, sont des bénévoles, ils ne perçoivent aucune rémunération pour assurer cette charge.
[This is not the first time that there has been a polling station in Brighton. As far as the statistics are concerned, they do not really represent the true situation. There are a large number of French people living in the area not registered on the Consul General’s list in London of French nationals living outside of France. In my constituency, which includes (the postal districts) SO, PO and BN, there are 3693 registered voters, 1828 of which are in the BN area. …
The Brighton Consular Office is very old and is based according to where the current Consul lives. There is no official office or representative in Brighton.
Honorary consuls are volunteers. They receive no remuneration for performing their duties.]
So what does a Consul do for French nationals? He or she can register a person to vote, can receive and use proxy votes, witness signatures and validate translations of certificated and other official documents and above all he can provide a French national identity card (eg: after the birth of a child or a marriage in the UK.
Consuls are exceptionally busy people as the carry on their main profession whilst at the same time looking after local French ex-pats. Commandant Jean is the port manager and CEO of Newhaven. In this role, he is overseeing extensive development of the port as well as welcoming the arrival of works associated with the Rampion Wind farm.
The role of the Consul is always apolitical. However, we will all be interested in the outcome of the Presidential election. It is unlikely that a final “winner” will emerge from the vote on 23 April. In that case, there will be a second round (deuxième tour), again in the Mercure Hotel, on Sunday 7 May.
A General Election will be held, again in two rounds, on 4th and 18th June. Expect to see more wonderful tricolour flags fluttering in Brighton in May and June.