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"Abstention": the key word in regional elections

2021-06-28T21:23:15.527Z

He's been on everyone's lips for a few days. But do you (really) know the history of this term?



A strange silence.

Few people.

Sunday June 27, we did not jostle at the gate.

Or rather in the voting booth.

Because in this second round of regional elections, a record rate of French people

“abstained”

from going to vote.

Lack of interest in politics, weariness, going on vacation ... Whatever the reasons given

, “abstention”

was king during this electoral period.

But where does this word originate from?

Le Figaro

explains everything to you.

To discover

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Abstinence

Direction Italy. Our word is linked to Dante's country, we read in Trésor de la langue française.

"Abstention"

is borrowed from the Italian

astensióne

, with the same meaning. There is also a parental link with Catalan

abstenció.

These foreign etymologies tell us about the primary meaning of the term. Because originally, it is a term of the religious vocabulary, which competed with the word

"abstinence"

. This designates

"the action of depriving oneself of certain material goods (food, drinks) or certain pleasures (in particular of the flesh)"

. But it is also

"the action of forbidding oneself an act"

, and

"the action of forbidding oneself the use, the enjoyment of something."

Here we find part of the meaning of our

“abstention”

.

"READ ALSO - But where does the word

" vote "come from

?

The latter appears for the first time in the 11th century, in old French

"astensïun"

.

The meaning, as often, evolves over time.

In the 16th century, abstinence was a legal term,

"with many meanings"

.

We thus speak, not of

“absence”

, but

“abstention of heir”

, of judge, and so on.

A story of heritage

At that time, a distinction was made between

“abstention”

and

“renunciation”

.

In the language of law,

“abstention”

is equivalent to an

“omission made by an heir in collateral”

.

Note that the word then disappeared from French, until 1789. It was not until the 19th century that it entered the common language.

Abstention remains a

“procedural term”

.

It designates

"the act by which a judge abstains, recuses himself."

But did you know that in ancient law, the word designated a use that has totally disappeared today?

Let's head to Roman Antiquity.

At that time,

"abstention"

means a

"benefit that the children obtained from the lender, by virtue of which they gave up their father's property, which they were deemed to own by civil law."

Abstention thus prevented them from inheriting,

"at least by praetorian law

.

"

We are a long way from our current abstention.

This one, our political parties seek to fight it with (almost) as much energy as the camps which oppose them.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-06-28

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