Hello and welcome to speakers and readers of English. As you may have noticed this blog is essentially written in French but I’m now starting to write some articles in English. These will pop up in the stream without notice, hence this page that will be updated with links to the articles written in English. If you’re on Twitter and want ot follow me (new articles automatically show up on my Twitter account) please click on the +follow green icon on the sidepage.
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Continuing our roundup of political events in Sarkoland (aka France under president Nicolas Sarkozy). We left off just before the second round of local elections and a look at role of the National Front (FN) in current politics. These elections were above all marked by a 55% rate of abstention, very high indeed although it must be said that these elections are a kind of stop-gap before the whole system changes in 2014: the current local councillors will disappear and be replaced by (much fewer) territorial councillors. One should thus not take this high abstention rate as a strong indication of voter disinterest of politics in general. Continue reading →
An awful lot is being written and said these days on french-speaking radio, TV, internet and newspapers about the rise of the french National Front (Front National, or FN hereafter) in recent surveys and in last week’s result in local elections (of which the second round will take place this Sunday, hence the turmoil). The arrival of Marine Le Pen at the helm has given the far-right party a new look: out goes head-on provocation and the scent of Arab-bashing skinheads that was the hallmark of ex-leader (but still honorary president) Jean-Marie Le Pen, in comes smooth talking, political correctness, a feminine figure, and the building of a political bureau which includes some serious people such asDavid Mascré, respected scientist, thinker and writer with more diplomas than he has letters to his name. According to the left-leaning newspaper Marianne, there even exists a FN shadow cabinet made up of high-ranking civil servants and known figures coming from other parts of the political spectrum, such as the sociologist Laurent Ozon, ex-Green and the economist Jean Roux, ex-PS (socialist party). Continue reading →
Terrible weekend for the French president and his ruling party, the UMP. The first round of local elections that took place in just over 2 000 “cantons” gave the UMP just over 17% of the vote, with the far-right National Front (FN) hot on its tail with 15% (compared with less than 5% in the previous elections 6 years ago). The social-democrats (PS) saved the day with 25%, but attendance was very low, probably the lowest ever with around 45% of voters turning up. These three parties total about 57% of the vote, the remaining 43% being distributed among various right-to-center leaning parties (for about 17%) and left-leaning parties (16%) and Greens (over 8%). Continue reading →
The week has been hot for the ruling UMP party, and this week-end is going to be just as hot with the first round of voting in over 2 000 local constituencies. This will be at real test for the two major parties in French politics (conservative UMP and socialist PS) against each other but especially against the greens of Europe-Ecologie, the far-right Front National and the far-left Front de Gauche. The FN has been surging in the poll surveys lately, see this article for an overview about that. Multi-sided competition will occur in 70-80% of constituencies, in others it will be face to face UMP vs PS for lack of other representatives, but this should still give us a good idea of the rapport de force between the various sides, this being all the more interesting as it is the last election before the big one in 2012 for the French presidency. Continue reading →
Non-French readers might have heard something about the surge of the french far-right National Front party (Front National, FN for short). Recent surveys gave newly-elected FN leader Marine Le Pen (daughter of historical president and founder Jean-Marie Le Pen) a 24% score in a presidential first round election (scheduled for real in 2012), in front of incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and possible socialist tickets Dominique Strauss-Khan,François Hollande and Martine Aubry (current head of the Socialist party).
This is the English version, slightly shortened, of my Feb 23 article on (mostly) French politics in the wake of the friendship scandals between members of the French government and since-gone dictators. Since then Foreign Minister Alliot-Marie has been replaced by Alain Juppé.