Photo: Mahlum/Wikimedia commons
Looking inside the chic café a two-minute bicycle ride from the grandeur of Copenhagen's Christiansborg parliament, it seemed on first glance as though the En Marche candidate for the French parliament's North Europe constituency hadn't yet arrived.
But Alexandre Holroyd and his team – a group of four dynamic-looking twentysomethings wearing blue En Marche badges – were easy enough to find, sitting outside at pavement tables like any self-respecting French team would do, tucking into Danish salmon and prawn salads while preparing for a meeting with members of Copenhagen's French community.
Holroyd, 30, a French-British dual national who worked in public policy in London and Brussels prior to joining the En Marche movement in the summer of 2016, told The Local that he experienced Brexit as a trigger that led him to join the now-President Emmanuel Macron's newly-founded political party, initially as a volunteer before eventually being nominated as a parliamentary candidate.
“I thought if we have a surprise like this in France, I would never forgive myself for just sitting on the sidelines… I felt the result emotionally,” says the parliamentary candidate, who describes himself as “profoundly pro-European”.
On the third day of a Scandinavian visit that has already taken in Oslo and Stockholm, Holroyd is keen to underline the importance of mobilising French voters in the UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries, which form one of 11 overseas constituencies introduced to the French parliament in 2010, creating an unusual form of parliamentary representation for overseas citizens.
Holroyd's task is not made easier by voting days for the overseas constituencies not coinciding with those in France – the first round for overseas voters is on the 4th of June, while the first round of parliamentary elections in France will take place a week later, on the 11th.
“It's essential for us that people realise [the difference in election dates]. We're not taking anything for granted because we realise that people might not show up in the numbers that we're expecting, so the onus is on us, the key thing is to get people out, and it's really important because the truth is that this is not really a separate election.
“If we fail to give a majority to the president then the choice that the French made on May 7th, because of the way the constitution works, the powers of the president are incredibly curtailed. The country has very little choice. If it wants the reforms they've chosen then we have to win a majority,” says Holroyd.