• This Sunday is the first round of the presidential election.

  • For those who go to vote, they will remember images from a distant past, when they were children and they participated indirectly in this moment of democracy.

  • Our readers evoke their childhood memories, which sometimes influenced their future civic life.

Digging into our memories, we all have childhood memories of previous elections.

And they will remember us this Sunday, during the first round of the presidential election.

Because politics is not just a matter for adults: according to a survey* carried out for Bayard Jeunesse a few days before the first round, 70% of parents do not hesitate to talk to their child about politics.

This is evidenced by Juliette, 14 years old today, who remembers the 2017 campaign very well: “I was 9 years old and my parents watched the news at dinner time.

I listened to their conversations which revolved around Emmanuel Macron.

They said that we had to vote for him so as not to have Marine Le Pen in the second round.

This early interest in the presidential election, Lucie Le Moine, co-author of

The presidential election, the children take action **,

perceives it well when she intervenes in primary classes: “The figure of president intrigues them.

The children imagine him as a man of a certain age, who concentrates all the powers.

A bit like one of the heroes of their books”.

What Juliette confirms: “For me, the president was a bit like a king”.

“I had the impression that the voting booth was like a box”

Like a live civic education course, 47% of parents say they vote with their offspring, and 10% even take them to the voting booth.

By taking a photo or making a short video in passing, just to mark the occasion.

A memory that leaves an impression of solemnity, of immersion in the world of adults, as evidenced by Joselito, who responded to our call for witnesses: "In 1981, at age 7, I entered the voting booth with my mother .

I had the feeling that his choice was going to change the election, and I left the polling station with ballots recovered from the trash, ”he confides.

From the height of her 9 years, Juliette had found her experience in a polling station very strange: “I had the impression that the voting booth was like a box where my parents were hiding.

And I did not understand why putting a ballot in an envelope had to remain secret”.

Marc, who was 8 years old in 1969, evokes with emotion his visit to the polling station with his grandparents: “I was not aware of the stakes, but I asked them afterwards who they had voted for.

My grandfather for Michel Rocard, and my grandmother for Gaston Defferre.

It was only later that I understood that they had probably always voted on the left”.

“The face of the president-elect gradually appeared on the screen.

It seemed like a long time to me."

Danielle, she remembers the counting in a small country school, when she was 11 years old: “I enjoyed listening to the passionate conversations which sometimes bordered on boxing”.

Because the children feel that the stake is important, notes Lucie Le Moine.

“They perceive the tension that reigns around the subject.

However, they are not parrots repeating the parental discourse.

They will dig into the different political analysis grids offered to them by their relatives, but also their teachers or their friends, ”

The most striking moment for many remains the discovery of the face of the future tenant of the Elysée Palace on TV.

“The countdown marks the spirits.

No doubt because children are immersed in competition from an early age.

They understand that this staging underlines the gravity of the moment”, analyzes Lucie Le Moine.

“In 2017, I remember that I found my parents very calm before the announcement of the results.

While I was afraid that Marine Le Pen would be elected.

And when they saw Macron, they opened the champagne and toasted with their friends,” says Juliette.

“The face of François Mitterrand appeared little by little on the screen”

For the oldest, it is the election of François Mitterrand, in 1981, which remains etched in their memories.

“The screen was black and white, but I saw a rose.

And Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's "Goodbye" has become iconic", evokes Margaux.

Brigitte, she was 13 years old: “The face of François Mitterrand appeared little by little on the screen.

It had seemed very long to me, and this image comes back to me at each presidential election.

Another reader, who was 9 years old at the time, and whose parents were cooperating in Algeria, was also marked: “The representative of the embassy communicated results from Paris.

Some cooperators uncorked bottles of champagne, others took out a guitar and sang Brassens.

I remember there were two camps: winners and losers.

For Anne-Laure, it was the re-election of François Mitterrand in 1988 that was the most significant: “We were at the theatre.

At 8 p.m., all the spectators wanted to know the result.

It was then that the comedian playing the main role returned to the stage, smiling and holding a red rose.

Moment suspended.

Cheers went up and the applause turned to thunder.”

The beginning of a civic life

These first political memories have sometimes been the trigger for a lasting interest in the subject.

“Some childhood political memories are very structuring.

It makes you want to be involved, to vote, or even to get involved,” emphasizes Lucie Le Moine.

This was the case for Thomas, who was 9 years old in 2002: "I remember that the presence of the far right in the second round scandalized me", says the one who never stopped voting for president after his 18 years old.

Ditto for Valère: “My parents were very involved.

They never missed a single vote!

I went with them, curious.

They always involved me, just as much as I involved my adult children.

Juliette will only be able to vote in four years.

But she is already looking forward to it: “In our country, we have the choice to elect whoever we want.

It is a chance ".

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* Survey carried out among a sample of 1,002 parents of children between the ages of 7 and 18.

The interviews were carried out by self-administered online questionnaire, from January 26 to February 4, 2022.

**

The presidential election, children take action,

Lucie Le Moine and Tom Aureille, Milan edition, 11.90 euros.

  • Presidential election 2022

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