French Socialist party candidate Axelle Lemaire was elected as the first lawmaker to represent the French citizens living in the U.K. at the National Assembly in Paris.
Lemaire, 37, a London mother of two, won 54.6 percent of the votes in the constituency that includes the U.K. in Sunday’s French parliamentary elections, which expatriates were allowed to take part in for the first time. She ran against UMP candidate Emmanuelle Savarit, also a Londoner.
“I’m told the floor is mine,” Lemaire, a former lawyer, said on her Twitter account late yesterday. “So a huge merci to those who believed in me, to my team and to voters. Pride, responsibility.”
Lemaire’s chance of victory in the district was boosted after Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy, in the May 6 election, taking 50.8 percent of the British vote. The French voters living in the U.K. represent about 80 percent of the registered voters in the constituency, which also includes countries such as Norway and Ireland.
Lemaire’s victory shows that the U.K.’s French community, once dominated by mathematicians and City dealmakers, has grown broader as it has increased in size. There are 300,000 to 400,000 French people in the U.K., making it the sixth or seventh-largest French city. Their numbers began swelling in the mid-1990s, when the cross-channel Eurostar rail service opened, linking Paris and London in about three hours.