All posts filed under: Elections 2012

Election 2012: Prends le Pouvoir Sur Moi, Jean-Luc

Just over a week from now, the first round of the Presidential elections is going to take place. Across the city, campaign posters impose themselves. News headlines, the chatter of people in the métro all seem to reflect that ’tis the season for political decision making. I am going to be following this all quite closely. Even though I will be in Morocco for part of the coming week (I will post a little bit on this trip, all things being equal). To kick off the election watch, I thought to post a video that echoes slightly back to Obama girl in the US. In the Parisian version, we get to enjoy ‘Victoire Passage’ as she sings about one of the many leftist candidates, Jean -Luc Melenchon. (Well as an aside – the very existence of this candidate points to a very fragmented left. i have even heard some people suggest that Melenchon is actually serving the right side of the political spectrum by consciously stealing votes. I am not convinced about this conspiracy theory. …

Présidentielle 2012

57 more days to go to the first round of the elections, and the ‘Présidentielle’ is delivering formidable testament to the good quality of political debate in France (and entratainment value). Older French people I know tend to disagree about the quality of political discourse. They say that there was an era when l’homme politique – the politician – or rather, statesmen where of a much more dignified calibre (very few states women existed then, whereas today Christine Lagarde is perhaps one of the most impressive French figures in the global political economy). Be that as it may, it is something of a global trend, this decline in impressive political figures of the stature of De Gaulle, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and so forth. Reading though the policy positions of the different candidates, one has to comment that it is not as desperate situation as some would say. Granted, none of the candidates have the skill and character of the grandes hommes that have shaped the country’s politucs at critical points in …

French elections – Gloves are off, except for Bayrou’s

So, Nicolas Sarkozy finally made his candidacy official last week and this weekend he delivered a set of statements that were clearly meant to have dramatic effect. Take his statement on gay marriage as an example. Not only was it something that troubled his conscience but legalising such an institution would compromise the values of the French state and betray the history of the fifth republic, not to mention the cumulative work of others who have gone before. This seemed to rather be a strategy to win over far right voters who responded well to hard line discourse in the 2007 election. The weekends papers also referred extensively to Sarkozy’s agenda to promote French values, respect for work and family life among other wholesome aspirations. In response, Socialist party commentary seems to be questioning how relevant the President’s talk about values is during a period of recession. In their view, the key questions on the minds of the middle class are more bread and butter ones. The tone of the socialist party seems to be …

French Election 2012: Rise of gay, right wing extremists?

One of the books out this past week is by author Didier Lestrade which tries to provide an explanation of why French gays increasingly prefer the right. He boils it down to a very few factors. For one, there is a shared antagonism and xenophobia targeted toward muslims who threaten the rights of gays to live freely and the right wing, who simply hold a visceral xenophobia. Ergo, the anti-muslim rhetoric of the extreme right is a comfort to the gays and a basis for a political alliance, so he argues. Some of the critics I have come across seem to suggest that maybe Lestrade ought to have maybe made it clear that he is speaking of gays of decades past – angry, militant ones, who had every right to be. However, given that these have been subsequently been replaced by a less antagonistic, less militant generation of gays- therefore, the suggestions seem to say that perhaps what Lestrade needs to have articulated is that the hateful language of the Right will go down well …

French elections 2012

So, last night the President fielded an interview on the economy ahead of an EU Summit today where the Eurozone economy is going to be the big elephant in the room under discussion. On his part, Sarkozy spelled out some potentially risky steps that he will take to buttress France from the continued effects of a struggling regional economy – an upward hike in sales tax by 1,6 points to 21,2%; A ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions that would come into effect around August. He also spoke on reducing working hours and more apprenticeships for young people (big topics especially given that unemployment is at one of its highest points – one would also add here that the logic behind the hike in sales tax is ostensibly to shift the responsibility of paying for social welfare to consumers. Therefore, employees would use the extra money to employ more people) He also struck an optimistic note, suggesting that the public deficit would turn out to be lower than predicted by about 0,4 percentage points. He …