the anger of Toulouse students at the candidates’ refusal to meet with them

Presidential candidates would deny the Student Parliament of Toulouse participation in debates and meetings with youth. However, many of them took part in the game at Sciences Po Paris.

Will presidential candidates despise young people from the regions? After a series of refusals by eight of them to come and meet with the students of Toulouse to explain their program to them, this idea slowly begins to infiltrate the Student Parliament of Toulouse.

Created in 15 French cities by law in 1901, this association has since its inception in 2014 sought to stimulate the participation of young people between the ages of 16 and 30 in political debate. The menu includes parliamentary simulations, visits to institutions, conferences and exchange time with male and female politicians. And this particular year, what better way to spice up the presidential elections than to organize debate-meetings with candidates for the Elysee Palace?

But, “after six months of negotiations, 39 hours of calls, 150 emails and over 300 text messages“, the Toulouse section of the Student Parliament and their comrades from the Higher College of Law had to face facts prone to meeting with the youth of the Pink City.

At the head of the presidium of the association in Toulouse, the expression is issued: “we got banned”. The word comes from English “ghost”, translated into French as “ghost”. In short, do “ghost”, a social phenomenon very common among young people is simply that relationships break off and disappear from circulation overnight without any explanation.

“Melenchon and Pecress [NDLR: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidat LFI et Valérie Pécresse, candidate LR], they just stopped answering us” says Mathieu Martins, president of the section of Toulouse. “We had 4 or 5 last minute cancellations, sometimes the week before or the same day” adds a student of the Faculty of Law and Political Science. Ignoring is always hurtful. All the more so when the Paris section achieves its aims.

At Sciences Po Paris, the association has already hosted Yannick Jadot, Fabien Roussel, Anne Hidalgo and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. The metaphor of a love triangle and rejected suitors is hilarious, but the problem these young people are talking about turns out to be very serious. “Expenses and communications have already been made […]. We offered larger rooms than at Sciences Po Paris, and even more … There is a lot of Parisian here, ” says Mathieu Martins. Last cancellation to date: the cancellation of Valerie Pecresse after her meeting organized in Toulouse on Friday 18 March. This became known from the lips of the press in the morning of the event, according to the organizers. “She was supposed to arrive on Saturday afternoon, but we read that she postponed her departure by train.”Mathieu is distressed.

The impression of discredit is annoying, especially since Toulouse is often voted the best student city in France and, according to Crous, accepted 142,000 students in 2021. “We always hear that young people are not interested in politics, that in Paris everything is centralized” launched by Mathieu Martins. “The candidates have made a lot of effort to make us believe that they are interested in the rest of France, but when we invite them to Toulouse, we are faced with their disinterest.”.

In an open letter written by two of his comrades, Elisa Wolf, responsible for the institutional relations of the Student Parliament of Toulouse, and Mathieu Lafou, member of the Higher Judicial College of the Capitol of Toulouse, the forgotten one protests against the situation. “Young people are no longer interested in politics, it is politics that no longer interests young people”they decide.

Those who feel least respected will vote the least.

Elisa Wolf and Mathieu Lafoux, Toulouse students

And while mass abstentions remain one of the biggest unknowns and fears of the presidential election, it is clear that many young people are not afraid to go to the polls. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos-Sopra Steria for the Federation of General Student Associations, 66% believe that politicians have “little” or “not a lot of thought” about the issues they care about.

Thus, with less than three weeks to go before the first round of the presidential election on April 10, it is becoming ever more urgent for Élysée hopefuls to reconnect with this forgotten but nonetheless highly strategic segment of the electorate.

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