Kylian Mbappe was a surprise name to appear on ballot papers in one small French town as the nation chose between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Emilio Andreoli – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images
While his professional football career is showing no signs of hitting the buffers anytime soon, Paris Saint-Germain and France striker Kylian Mbappe may be reassured that he has a burgeoning base for a future political career.
The 23-year-old received a number of votes in the recent French presidential election, which concluded last weekend with the reelection of Emmanuel Macron for a second term after a second round of voting.
Macron duly became the first French president to be reelected for 20 years after the 44-year-old fended off a number of rival candidates including Mbappe, who received 10 votes despite not being included on the ballot.
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As first reported by L’Est Republicain, Mbappe’s unexpected electoral success came in Tallenay, a small town in the east of the country with a population of around 425.
Of the 348 locals who cast their vote in the second round of the ballot in Tallenay, 175 voted for Macron and 75 voted for the incumbent’s main rival, Marine Le Pen, earning Macron a 70% share of the town’s vote, while nationally he claimed 58.5%.
ABC News reports that, according to official figures, approximately 28% of registered voters in France did not vote in Sunday’s presidential election, the highest amount in the past two decades. French voters can also show their dissatisfaction with both candidates by voting “blanc.” Blank ballots represented 6.35% of the votes on Sunday.
In Tallenay, 50 voters abstained, 22 left their vote blank and 10 of the 26 spoiled ballots were submitted with Mbappe’s name in a premeditated action that was presumably in protest at the legitimate options available.
“We saw one [vote] and then a second and a third,” Ludovic Barbarossa, mayor of Tallenay, told Le Parisien. “They were well made, they looked like real ballot papers. The name wasn’t just scribbled down quickly with a pen but it was written on a computer and printed out. It didn’t seem to be the actions of a joker but a concerted decision.
“Was it a bet between some friends? Did five couples have dinner together on Saturday to come up with the idea and organise it? I honestly don’t know.
“In any case, I refuse to judge the actions of my constituents who came to vote. They have the right to vote to return a blank vote. We had two other ballot papers with the name of the former deputy in chief with a photomontage, for example.”
Barbarossa also went to the trouble of inviting Mbappe to come and meet his supporters, saying that the 2018 World Cup winner will always be welcome to visit Tallenay, which is situated in the eastern region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, about 30 miles from the Swiss border.
“I invite Kylian Mbappe to come! We are two hours by TGV [train] from Paris,” he added.
Sadly, at present there is no football team established in Tallenay, so Mbappe would not be able to turn out and score a few goals for the local side as a photo op to launch his electoral campaign.
Aramide Oladipo contributed to this report