With a view to the next parliamentary elections (from 27 May online, 5 and 19 June 2022 in the polls), lepetitjournal.com went to meet the candidates in each constituency of French living abroad.
Sophie Chédiac, 7th constituency candidate for the Federation of the Republican Left, answered our questions.
Why did you want to stand as a candidate in the next parliamentary elections?
First a few words of introduction: Sophie Chédiac, with my replacement Joel Jadas, 56 years old and father of 4 children, we present on behalf of the Fédération de la Gauche Républicaine, a meeting of 7 left parties around republican values of universalism and secularism, and which presents one hundred candidates for these parliamentary elections.
I have always fought against social, territorial and educational inequalities.
I studied political science until my PhD. My thesis focused on urban policy, the participation of residents, social diversity. At the same time as my thesis I taught political science at the university.
Thinking that everything happened in childhood, I decided to become a school teacher and then a teacher specializing in learning disabilities.
I fight failures and early school leaving in priority education districts on a daily basis.
If I am not elected, I will soon hold the position of referent teacher. I guide students with disabilities during their education. The inclusive school is also one of my struggles.
Union activist at CGT Education for years, my ideas are firmly rooted in the left. I joined the Republican and Socialist Left a year ago. It is a young movement. As the name suggests, our political lineage is that of the Social Republic as theorized by Jean Jaurès:
- A doctrine of sharing: wealth, power, knowledge.
- A doctrine of emancipation: education, culture and secularism (which guarantees absolute freedom of conscience and equality between citizens).
French people living abroad have suffered for years, and especially during the last five-year term, from inconsistent budgetary choices, paying for the reduction of consular services, the systematic dematerialization of procedures allowing access to the most vulnerable French became nearly impossible, the abolition of taxation on large fortunes.
The current president is preparing for a policy that weakens national cohesion and social justice, completely ignoring climate issues. He also trampled on women’s rights, yet a big reason for the quinquennium. This is evident from the analysis of the composition of the newly appointed government, where the absence of a housing and transport ministry is distressing, and where the French living abroad do not even have a secretary of state.
- What is your relationship with this constituency and how has your career been marked by the concerns of French people living abroad?
What areas of work would you like to pursue if you are elected?
I decided to run for this constituency, in agreement with my support committee chaired by Mathieu Pouydesseau, who led the GRS-LFI list for the Northern Germany consular constituency last May, because of the nature of the problems and challenges that my be a specialty.
- Challenges in access to housing. I have known Berlin well for more than 10, 15 years and I see today the effects of gentrification leading to the gradual loss of social diversity and thus to an increase in rents. If you are middle class, it becomes more and more difficult to find accommodation in Berlin. It is not normal.
- educational challenges. I point out the relevance of the German educational model for certain aspects, in particular the reception and integration of students with disabilities, but also the recognition of the teaching profession (remuneration, permanent education), certain virtuous educational pathways (high school in Hamburg) .
The defense of French public schools is my priority:
- I disapprove of the relaxation of teachers. There is an urgent need to significantly increase their salaries and resolve the issue of AEFE staff. I supported the strike movement and the united struggle of the unions against the decrees passed once the presidential elections were over, which made the workforce even more insecure. In this regard, it is unfortunate to see a horse without a mandate return, a former prime minister, who claims with a phone call that he obtained the suspension of the decree on pensions, ignoring the futility of the outgoing deputies LREM and Modem in these questions brings to light ! Moreover, I believe that Mr Petit essentially supported the principle of the decree.
- We also need to do something about the university training of French teachers, which should be more complete, longer, more effective and more professional. Being a teacher cannot be improvised.
The school must once again become this place of equality and emancipation.
How do you see the mandate of deputy and what do you think are the challenges facing the French people in your constituency?
If the deputy is still the nation’s elected representative, then of course she represents the voters of her territory. You French women and men living abroad have specific needs that are poorly defended in the National Assembly.
- The state should invest more in the network of existing French secondary schools (instead of allowing institutions to compete with new private schools), lower tuition fees (caps), broaden access to scholarships (free for families who can’t afford the rest) and improves the contracts of AEFE teachers.
- We defend the French diplomatic corps and reject the liberal diplomacy that E. Macron wants to introduce.
- Local government services need to be strengthened: improve the reception of users in consulates and embassies, support pensioners in their complex administrative procedures.
- Establish fair taxation for French living abroad (double CSG/CRDS tax).
- Fighting transversal issues in France and the countries of residence: recognition of diplomas, problems related to the rules of divorce and child custody, a particularly painful subject.
My ambition is to improve your living conditions. Make your voice heard in the National Assembly.
But we must not forget that my role as a member of the Nation is not, as certain candidates from the right or who claim to be “independent” are trying to make you believe, to be a super-advisor to the French from abroad.
The war in Ukraine and the millions of refugees in the European Union, the pandemic crisis that is not yet over, inflation and its consequences, the fight for the climate, these are topics that interest the entire nation, and it is good that it is important to know what we’re talking about.
I am on the left, candidate for a union of 7 parties – the radicals on the left, Gauche Républicaine et Socialiste, the MRC, l’Engagement d’Arnaud Montebourg, Les Socialistes, founded by rebels in 2016, the Nouvelle Gauche Socialiste and Popular ecology – as part of the idea to bring a parliamentary majority to the left in the National Assembly.
How is your campaign organized and who are your supporters?
With Mathieu Pouydesseau, who has lived in Germany for over 22 years, and our support committee, we are leading a playful, innovative and impactful campaign. The rules of the campaigns make those of French people living abroad very short: electronic voting will start on Friday, May 27 at 12 noon Paris time, the first round at the ballot box is June 5. We aim to reach all French men and women in the constituency with internet conferences, the press, our electronic letters, but it must be admitted that the administration, like the consular, like the regional ones, is overwhelmed by the constraints of a serene organization of a campaign and an election.
What is your opinion on the mandate of the outgoing MP?
The outgoing Modem deputy’s mandate is that of all governments that have served under Emmanuel Macron: socially violent. Frédéric Petit voted all the laws for the decline of rights and solidarity of the previous five-year term, ecologically hypocritical, he voted against the ban on glyphosate and he is in favor of raising the retirement age. We recognize his dedication to Ukraine, where he was able to respond and come to the aid of the governments exhausted by the fiscal policies he voted for. He is a sincere man in his commitment and in his fights, just like me, but we don’t share the same philosophy at all!
Voting for him or for me is therefore a choice of conscience and conviction.