500 French nationals in Nigeria voted in presidential poll — envoy

Out of 1,000 French nationals who registered to vote in Nigeria, about 500 cast their votes for the French run-off presidential elections on Sunday, a French official said in Abuja
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Incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy conceded defeat to Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party who won 51.62 per cent of the vote cast.

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja, the Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy, Abuja, De Souza Etienne, said that more than half of the 1000 registered voters participated in the election with majority voting in Lagos.

Mr. Etienne listed Abuja and Port Harcourt as the two other cities where voting took place.

“Their participation was not as high as it was in France (more than 80%) but above half of the potential voters participated, which is good given the fact that it is a population whose members travel much and often for professional reasons.”

According to him, the embassy is saddled with the responsibility of preparing properly for the election day “by inviting all the citizens to register on the electoral list so that each of them can make use of his right to participate in the democratic process even when far from his homeland”, he explained.

The ambassador said he could not gauge the reaction of the French citizens in Nigeria to Mr. Hollande’s elections because the embassy did not seek reactions from the voters.

“It [the embassy] is politically neutral on such issues,” he said.

Mr. Sarkozy, who was elected in 2007, will officially hand-over power to Mr. Hollande on May 15.

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