How Macron has made his 'grand coalition' even bigger for 2022 election

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Emmanuel Macron  meets members of the public at Fouras on France's Atlantic coast March 31st 2022. © Ludovic Marin / AFP Emmanuel Macron meets members of the public at Fouras on France's Atlantic coast March 31st 2022. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

What do former supporters of Nicolas Sarkozy, the left-wing nationalist Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and the right-wing ex-minister Éric Woerth have in common? They are all supporting current president Emmanuel Macron in his bid for re-election. Backing for the incumbent from such disparate groups is a clear sign of how the old forces of government in France – the traditional Right and Left - have run out of steam. It also highlights the extent to which social democrats have effectively abandoned the political field. With the first round of the presidential election taking place on Sunday April 10th, Fabien Escalona looks at how Macron's 'big tent' politics has got even bigger, and examines some of the resulting dangers for French politics.

A question of influence: how consultants McKinsey gave free services to Macron

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From 2015 McKinsey provided services free of charge to Emmanuel Macron. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart From 2015 McKinsey provided services free of charge to Emmanuel Macron. © Sebastien Calvet / Mediapart

A report by French senators recently lambasted Emmanuel Macron's government over its awarding of contracts worth a total of up to 2.4 billion euros to outside consultancy firms, including the French arm of US firm McKinsey & Company. Now Mediapart can reveal how McKinsey pinned its hopes on Macron when he was France's economy minister, well before he announced he was standing for the presidency in 2017. The consultancy firm's strategy included providing services for the minister for free. Sarah Brethes and Antton Rouget spoke to former consultants at McKinsey who revealed the methods used to try to gain influence with the man who went on to become president of France.

The French far-right's election dilemma: a family split between Le Pen and Zemmour

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Melinda in a garden near the northern French town of Hirson. © Illustration Sébastien Calvet pour Mediapart Melinda in a garden near the northern French town of Hirson. © Illustration Sébastien Calvet pour Mediapart

For three generations Melinda and Dylan's family from northern France has voted steadfastly for the far-right Le Pen family at elections; first Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the Front National, and more recently his daughter Marine Le Pen who is president of its successor party Rassemblement National. However, the decision on who to vote for has now been thrown into question by the presence of another far-right candidate in April's French presidential election, the polemicist Éric Zemmour. The dilemma, one faced by many voters across the country, threatens to divide the family. Lucie Delaporte reports.

Witnesses detail Mali town massacre by army and suspected Russian mercenaries

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Malian troops on patrol in the centre of the West African country, February 2020. © Photo Michele Cattani / AFP Malian troops on patrol in the centre of the West African country, February 2020. © Photo Michele Cattani / AFP

A Malian army unit accompanied by foreign mercenaries, who from witness accounts appear to be members of Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group, last week carried out summary executions of hundreds of people in the town of Moura, in the centre of Mali, in an operation officially described as a crackdown on jihadist insurgents, according to a report by NGO Human Rights Watch. Mediapart’s West Africa correspondent Rémi Carayol has spoken to survivors of the massacre and with various sources including local rights activists, who say the dead, variously estimated to number between 300 and 600, were mostly non-jihadist civilians.

French fears over 'another Syria' as 150 fighters head to Ukraine

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Ukrainian fighters, including former members of the French Foreign Legion, pose with a French flag bearing the insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment based at Calvi on Corsica. © Capture d'écran Telegram Ukrainian fighters, including former members of the French Foreign Legion, pose with a French flag bearing the insignia of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment based at Calvi on Corsica. © Capture d'écran Telegram

Fighters have been arriving from all corners of the planet to help defend Ukraine itself against the Russian invasion. Mediapart has been told that these foreign fighters include around 150 from France. The authorities in Paris meanwhile worry there could be a repeat of the problems seen during the Syrian war when French fighters went to combat Bashar al-Assad's regime – and came back radicalised. Sébastien Bourdon and Matthieu Suc report.

The appalling greed of French companies over Russia

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Dozens of people protested against at Gdansk in Poland against French company Leroy-Merlin on March 22nd 2022. © Michal Fludra / NurPhoto via AFP Dozens of people protested against at Gdansk in Poland against French company Leroy-Merlin on March 22nd 2022. © Michal Fludra / NurPhoto via AFP

On Wednesday Match 23rd the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called on French companies to quit their involvement with Russia, but without much success. This can largely can be put down to the greed of the business world. But as Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues in this op-ed article, the lack of solidarity by businesses can also be explained by the French government's ambiguous stance on the issue.

How French Resistance footballer murdered by the Nazis became an icon for grassroots fans

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A display at Red Star's Bauer stadium at Saint-Ouen in February 2014marking the 70th anniversary of Rino Della Negra's execution. © Photo : Red Star Fans A display at Red Star's Bauer stadium at Saint-Ouen in February 2014marking the 70th anniversary of Rino Della Negra's execution. © Photo : Red Star Fans

During World War II a young man called Rino Della Negra played for the prestigious Red Star football club from Saint-Ouen in the northern suburbs of Paris. But as well as playing top-level football he was also secretly a member of a French Resistance group. Della Negra was executed on February 21st 1944 by the Nazis at the age of just 20, but later became an icon of the club's grassroots fans. Now two historians have charted the life of this young working class footballer. As Mickaël Correia reports, Della Negra was also the the son of Italian immigrants and his story makes a mockery of the hazy notion of “national identity” so beloved by the far-right today.

How Macron has – once again – seized the Right's political terrain as election looms

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Spot the difference: campaign leaflets from Emmanuel Macron and Valérie Pécresse. © Magali Cohen / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP Spot the difference: campaign leaflets from Emmanuel Macron and Valérie Pécresse. © Magali Cohen / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

When Emmanuel Macron recently set out his manifesto for next month's presidential election he adopted both the language and the policies of the mainstream Right. As a result the official right-wing candidate, Valérie Pécresse from the Les Républicains party, has seen her own position on the political spectrum squeezed. Her supporters are now wondering how to counter Macron's occupation of the Right's political terrain – and, indeed, whether it can be countered at all. Ilyes Ramdani reports.

The damning evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

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Footage from the war in Ukraine, analysed by Mediapart in this video report, shows how, since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, civilian residential areas around the country have become the systematic target of indiscriminate bombings by Russian forces, and notably with the use of cluster munitions.

The memories of violence that overshadow anniversary of deal that ended Algerian War

Last weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the Évian Accords which brought an end to the bloody Algerian War and paved the way for that country's independence from France. But for many ordinary Algerians their memory of that period is still dominated by the violence perpetrated at the time by the armed French group that was virulently opposed to granting Algeria's independence, the Organisation Armée Secrète or OAS. Nejma Brahim visited Oran on the north-west coast of Algeria where an OAS car bomb killed scores of people on February 28th 1962.

Former Kremlin insider reveals Putin’s system of corruption

By and Madeleine Leroyer
Sergei Chemezov with Vladimir Putin, May 8th 2017. © Photo Alexei Nikolsky / présidence russe / Tass / Abaca Sergei Chemezov with Vladimir Putin, May 8th 2017. © Photo Alexei Nikolsky / présidence russe / Tass / Abaca

In this second part of a lengthy interview he gave to Mediapart this month, oligarch Sergei Pugachev, once a Kremlin insider close to Vladimir Putin, says one of the Russian president’s key allies, a former fellow KGB officer, Sergei Chemezov, regularly negotiated secret commissions on arms deals which were paid into offshore accounts for the benefit of both Chemezov and Putin. According to Pugachev, that was also the case in an ill-fated deal for Russia’s purchase from France of several Mistral amphibious assault vessels.

Exiled Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachev on Putin’s ‘junta’ and why Ukraine marks its downfall

By and Madeleine Leroyer
Sergei Pugachev, pictured here at his home in Nice, south-east France, in 2016. © Photo Adam Ferguson/ The New York Times / REA Sergei Pugachev, pictured here at his home in Nice, south-east France, in 2016. © Photo Adam Ferguson/ The New York Times / REA

Exiled Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachev, who became dubbed “the Kremlin’s banker”, was once part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, until he was eventually cast out by the Russian president and took refuge abroad. In this interview with Mediapart, he details how Putin and his close allies, what he calls “a junta which has captured power, all the money and all the institutions of the state”, function. He denounces a system of corruption on a vast scale, including that of foreign politicians, argues why the decision to wage war on Ukraine marks “the end of Putin’s Russia”, and describes French President Emmanuel Macron’s frequent calls to Putin as “ridiculous”.

Alain Krivine: the integrity of a revolutionary

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Alain Krivine, pictured in 2009. © François Guillot / AFP Alain Krivine, pictured in 2009. © François Guillot / AFP

The death of Alain Krivine on March 12th, at the age of 80, saw the passing of the last of the leading militants of the May 1968 revolts in France who remained faithful to the ideals of his youth, mixing anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism and anti-capitalism. To this fidelity, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel, his personality added a manifest integrity, which ran counter to the lust for power and party sectarianism.

How Russia built its soft power in France

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Vladimir Putin greeting former French PM François Fillon at his official residence near Moscow, March 21st 2013. © ALEXEY DRUZHININ / RIA-NOVOSTI / AFP Vladimir Putin greeting former French PM François Fillon at his official residence near Moscow, March 21st 2013. © ALEXEY DRUZHININ / RIA-NOVOSTI / AFP

For years, Russia led a vast campaign to promote its standing and influence in western Europe, and particularly in France, where the Kremlin’s soft-power strategy had notably, and successfully, targeted political and business circles. In this interview with Mediapart, Marlène Laruelle, director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University, details the history and reach of Russia’s drive to gain influence in France, and which was “destroyed in a matter of days, and for several years to come” following its invasion of Ukraine.

Libyan payment to Sarkozy 'cardinal' confirmed by Paris appeal court

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Claude Guéant, on October 18th 2021, arriving for the start of one of several trials targeting him, this one in Paris over the misuse of public funds at the Élysée Palace during Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency. © Stéphane De Sakutin / AFP Claude Guéant, on October 18th 2021, arriving for the start of one of several trials targeting him, this one in Paris over the misuse of public funds at the Élysée Palace during Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency. © Stéphane De Sakutin / AFP

Former French interior minister Claude Guéant, who served for years as chief of staff of Nicolas Sarkozy before and after he became president, received 500,000 euros paid through a complex money trail that led back to a sovereign wealth fund controlled by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a Paris appeal court has confirmed. The payment was made when Guéant, dubbed “the cardinal” because of his power and influence as Sarkozy’s right-hand man, was secretary general of the Élysée Palace. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.