Local polling booth attendants will be swarmed by people this weekend as campaigns reach boiling point in the 2015 NSW state election.

Politicians and voters are preparing to cast their vote in an election that will reach its climax on Saturday.

Many University of Wollongong students will vote but there is also a large group of international students who will not.

For French exchange student Lucie Martinez, the NSW state election is not the only significant political event this weekend.

The French departmental elections will be held on Sunday and the 21-year-old has been keeping a keen eye on proceedings.

“The departmental elections are local elections, so people feel like they can express themselves more because they’re not electing a President,” Ms Martinez said.

“These elections can give the public a good idea of who is gaining popularity and I think France will see a big rise in the Front National party this Sunday.”

Front National is a far-right wing party that has rapidly gained popularity in France.

The party’s ideals are similar to those of other right-leaning populist parties that are growing in power across Europe.

Ms Martinez said the biggest challenge for the French socialist government, led by President Francois Hollande, is to stand up against the rising power of the far-right.

“Fascism is becoming popular again … it’s not just in France, all around Europe, governments are facing competition from these far-right populist parties,” she said.

Ms Martinez explains her views on Australian politics

Mexican exchange student Valeria Gutierrez said people in her country face a completely different challenge.

Ms Gutierrez said, as she has grown up, she has become more disillusioned with Mexican politics, largely because of the wide-spread corruption that burdens the country.

“It is really well known in Mexico that there is significant political corruption,” she said.

“There is corruption in the Mexican government and law enforcement especially … and a lot of people blame the government because they don’t know how to handle the situation.”

Ms Gutierrez said a lot of people are interested in politics in Mexico but not always for the right reasons.

“There are so many barriers if you are not involved in government because the corruption has become so widespread,” she said.

She said the biggest difference between Australian and Mexican political culture is not the government but the people.

“Everyone respects the law in Australia,” she said.

“I think it’s more about the citizens living in the country rather than the government. In Mexico, people don’t respect the law because of the corrupt government who enforce it.”

In regard to the representation of politicians, Ms Gutierrez said the election advertsing and signage that is evident around NSW at the moment is very similar to that in Mexico during election campaigns.

However, Ms Martinez said the representation of politicians on television in Australia differs from that in France.

“Because I study journalism, I’ve noticed differences in the treatment of politicians in the media,” she said.

“They’re a bit more exposed I think, I often see Tony Abbott and his ministers on television, they make long statements. Our President doesn’t speak as much,” said Ms Martinez.

More insights into the political landscape in France and Mexico

The Guardian reports on French socialists take on Front National in electoral test runoff

The Guardian detailed how far-right party Front National could go from protest vote to the first preferred party in France

The New York Times has consistently followed the large scale corruption in Mexico, detailing the spendings of government officials in this story

A string of scandals has resulting the question being raised, can Mexico’s President Pena Nieto fight corruption?

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