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France French local elections 2014 French politics Local government politics

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French deputy walks 5k to gauge voter apathy

French MP Jean Lassalle Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

Jean Lassalle, a centre-right Modem deputy, rounded up an eight-month long trek spanning 5.000 km, to gauge the extent of voter apathy. His analysis is brutal. After visiting 1.500 towns and 18 different regions, he concludes that the French people and and the French government are profoundly divided.

"I was surprised by both the level of anger and resignation within the population," Lassalle said during the presentation of a 200 page report on Wednesday 26 March. He will submit his findings to the French President next week.

"I was expecting some people to be unhappy with politicians but I didn't expect to find so many," he told reporters. "French people are scared. Our people don't have any perspectives, they don't see any and they've given up."

His comments come in the wake of record abstention levels in Sunday's first-round voting of local elections, that exceeded 36 per cent.

Lassalle said he wasn't surprised by the figures. "The social bond has been broken, people feel that globalisation is moving too quickly and has caused a loss of values."

In his report, he recommends setting up local referundums, and fighting against downward social mobility, as well as more efforts to reduce the generation gap.