Macron's democratic slap in the face

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Emmanuel Macron and Élisabeth Borne during a ceremony at the Mont-Valérien war memorial at Suresnes, in the western suburbs of Paris, on June 18th 2022. © Photo Gonzalo Fuentes / Pool / AFP Emmanuel Macron and Élisabeth Borne during a ceremony at the Mont-Valérien war memorial at Suresnes, in the western suburbs of Paris, on June 18th 2022. © Photo Gonzalo Fuentes / Pool / AFP

Having been repudiated at the ballot box in the second round of France's legislative elections on Sunday, Presidential Emmanuel Macron is now faced with an unprecedented political and institutional crisis. Without a working majority in the National Assembly, there looks to be no obvious solutions for him at the start of his second term, unless there is a major but improbable realignment of political groups. Analysis by political correspondent Ilyes Ramdani.

French legislative elections 2022: live coverage of the decisive second round

French voters have delivered a major setback to Emmanuel Macron and his  centre-right Ensemble coalition, which has failed to achieve an overall majority in the National Assembly in today's decisive second round legislative elections. This  is a huge blow for President Macron who cannot now be assured of Parliamentary backing for his planned reforms. His centre-right coalition has so far picked up 245 of the 577 seats, with 289 being the magic number to achieve an overall majority. This is well down on the number of seats it won in 2017 and means that for the government to have a working parliamentary majority it will have to seek the help of another party. That could be the rightwing Les Républicains who have 61 seats. Meanwhile the broad left and environmental alliance NUPES will be the main opposition party in the new Assembly, with  it and its allies winning 147 seats. This is a major achievement for the driving force behind NUPES, veteran leftwinger Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose La France Insoumise party only won 17 seats in the last parliament. But one of the biggest winners of the night is the far-right Rassemblement National who have won 89 seats. These dramatic results are now set to usher in a period of political uncertainty. Our live coverage of the second round results and reactions was by Graham Tearse and Michael Streeter.

Why we should back the leftwing NUPES alliance against this divisive presidency

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The NUPES convention at Aubervilliers in the northern suburbs of Paris, May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The NUPES convention at Aubervilliers in the northern suburbs of Paris, May 7th 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

In the decisive second round of voting in France's legislative elections this Sunday June 19th, a vote for the NUPES alliance of the Left and environmentalists is both ethically essential and a political necessity, argues Mediapart's publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article. To vote in this way, he writes, is to reject the duplicity of a divisive presidency and to embrace political change via a parliamentary route.

'Bloodlands' author Timothy Snyder on why Russia’s war against Ukraine is 'genocide'

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Timothy Snyder: 'Russians can’t stop talking about their own genocidal intent.' © Photo Jiri Zerzon for Hospodarske Noviny Timothy Snyder: 'Russians can’t stop talking about their own genocidal intent.' © Photo Jiri Zerzon for Hospodarske Noviny

In this interview with Mediapart, Yale University professor of history Timothy Snyder, a specialist on eastern European history and notably Ukraine, author of Bloodlands, his internationally acclaimed book about mass murders in central and eastern Europe beginning in the 1930s, argues why he believes Russia’s war against Ukraine amounts to genocide in the full legal sense of the term. He also sketches Ukraine’s long history of resistance to oppression, the singular character of its society, and why it is vital for the future Europe, and even Russia, that Ukraine wins the war.

French minister Damien Abad faces new claims of sexual violence

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Damien Abad at the first meeting of ministers in Élisabeth Borne's new government at the Élysée, May 23rd 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Damien Abad at the first meeting of ministers in Élisabeth Borne's new government at the Élysée, May 23rd 2022. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

The new minister for solidarity and the disabled has been accused of rape by two women, claims he has strongly denied. Now Mediapart has spoken to a third woman who says that he tried to rape her at a party at his home in Paris in 2010. Damien Abad, who was appointed to the new government under Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne on May 20th this year, did not directly respond to Mediapart's questions about these latest allegations but has “categorically” denied them in a statement. Meanwhile the issue has dogged the final days of the legislative election campaign ahead of the crucial second round of voting on Sunday June 19th. Marine Turchi and Ellen Salvi report.

Why the 'Macronista' attack on France's leftwing alliance is cynical and antidemocratic

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The election night gathering of Macron's Ensemble movement in Paris, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP The election night gathering of Macron's Ensemble movement in Paris, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP

In next Sunday's decisive second round in France's legislative elections there will be nearly sixty constituencies where candidates from the broad left alliance known as NUPES will be in a head-to-head contest with far-right candidates. Yet rather than telling its voters to back the leftwing candidates against the far-right Rassemblement National, senior figures in Emmanuel Macron's ruling party have labelled both those on the right and many on the left as extremists. And they say they will advise their voters whom to back on a case by case basis. Mediapart's Ellen Salvi argues in this opinion article that this cynical approach amounts to bad faith on the part of the president's political movement. She says it goes against both political principles and political history – and also flies in the face of everything that the president claimed to be defending in his recent presidential campaign.

Macron at risk of losing his Parliamentary majority

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Emmanuel Macron voting in the first round at Le Touquet in northern France, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP Emmanuel Macron voting in the first round at Le Touquet in northern France, June 12th 2022. © Photo Ludovic Marin / AFP

Shortly after winning the presidential election in 2017 Emmanuel Macron won a thumping majority at elections for the National Assembly, enabling him to push through his programme of reforms. Now, two months after his re-election as president in April, the head of state has suffered his first electoral setback at a national level. In the first round of voting in legislative elections on Sunday Macron's coalition of parties attracted only a handful more votes than the united left alliance known as NUPES. Though the head of state's centre-right Ensemble alliance is well-placed to win the support of other voters in the decisive second round next Sunday June 19th, his supporters are nonetheless worried he could lose his overall majority in the National Assembly. Ilyes Ramdani reports.

French legislative elections: live coverage of results and reactions

France went to the polls on Sunday for the first round of legislative elections to elect the 577 members of the next parliament. The vote is crucial for the recently re-elected president Emmanuel Macron, who needs to retain a majority to push through his planned reforms of pensions and the welfare system. In the event, Macron’s centre-right coalition ended neck-and-neck with the newly formed NUPES alliance of the broad Left, which now represents France’s principal opposition, and all is now to play out in the second round next weekend. Follow our live coverage of the first-round results and reactions as they came in through the evening. Reporting by Graham Tearse and Michael Streeter.

Haiti: the dark history of French colonial banks resurfaces

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The Banque nationale d’Haïti (National Bank of Haiti) in Port-au-Prince, pictured in 1910. © Archives The Banque nationale d’Haïti (National Bank of Haiti) in Port-au-Prince, pictured in 1910. © Archives

In its recent powerful investigation into the exploitation of Haiti by France in the colonial past, The New York Times highlighted the predatory role played by the bank Crédit Industriel et Commercial. In fact, reports Laurent Mauduit, all French colonial banks practiced this same pillaging system of exploitation in Asia, Africa and the Antilles.

Mooted 'food cheque' for France's poor 'a tree which hides the forest'

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Amid galloping inflation, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne this week announced that households with the lowest incomes will be given a one-off financial payment at the end of the summer in emergency aid. The government is also to study the feasibility of implementing a regular payment to the neediest which will be specifically for the purchase of food, what has been dubbed a “food cheque”, although exactly what form this might take is unclear. Humanitarian associations have greeted the moves with caution, among them the Secours Catholique which likened the ‘cheque’ to “a tree that hides the forest” of the crisis. Faïza Zerouala reports.  

Revealed: De Gaulle knew facts of 1961 Paris police massacre of Algerians but failed to punish perpetrators

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A report on the October 17th 1961 massacre sent to Charles de Gaulle, and his hand-written response. © Archives nationales A report on the October 17th 1961 massacre sent to Charles de Gaulle, and his hand-written response. © Archives nationales

Documents unearthed by Mediapart in France’s national archives, and never before published, reveal that the true horrific extent of the covered-up massacre by police of Algerian demonstrators in Paris on the night of October 17th 1961 was very quickly made known to then president Charles de Gaulle and his advisors. They show that de Gaulle had instructed in writing that those who perpetrated the crimes be brought to justice. But in the end, no-one would ever be prosecuted over the slaughter, which historians have estimated claimed the lives of several hundred people, many of who drowned in the River Seine. Fabrice Arfi reports. 

General Electric’s scheme to avoid millions of euros in taxes in France

By Filippo Ortona (Disclose)
The General Electric plant in Belfort, north-east France. © Photo Sébastien Bozon / AFP The General Electric plant in Belfort, north-east France. © Photo Sébastien Bozon / AFP

Following its purchase in 2015 of the power branch of French engineering firm Alstom, General Electric put in place a vast tax avoidance scheme involving subsidiaries in Switzerland and the US state of Delaware to syphon off hundreds of millions of euros that would otherwise have been subject to taxes in France, according to an investigation by Mediapart’s online partner newsroom Disclose. What’s more, the scheme appears to have had the blessing of the French economy and finance ministry.

Anti-French protests in West Africa spill over into Chad

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‘No to France’: anti-France demonstrators in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, May 14th 2022. © AFP ‘No to France’: anti-France demonstrators in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, May 14th 2022. © AFP

Anti-French sentiment is gaining ground across a number of West African countries, where the presence of the former colonial power, engaged in fighting armed jihadist insurgents across the Sahel, is challenged by growing Russian influence and popular anger against its history of support for strongman regimes. Protests against France’s military presence in the region have now spilled over into Chad, France’s key African ally, governed by a junta, where last month French nationals were targeted in the capital N’Djamena and petrol stations belonging to oil giant Total were ransacked. Rémi Carayol reports.

A 'red rag' to voters: why some of Macron's MP candidates are dropping his campaign photo

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The types of posters drawn up by the ruling party, the LREM. © Montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The types of posters drawn up by the ruling party, the LREM. © Montage Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

Candidates standing for Emmanuel Macron's La République en Marche (LREM) party in the 2017 Parliamentary elections could not get enough of the newly-elected president's name and image on their campaign literature. It is a very different story in this year's Parliamentary elections, which are to be held over two rounds on June 12th and June 19th. A number of candidates for the ruling party and its allies have decided to campaign under their own own name rather than that of the recently re-elected president. Some candidates facing a tough battle against the Left or far-right look upon campaign photos of Macron as a “red rag” to disgruntled voters. Ellen Salvi reports.

'Exploited' migrant delivery staff in France accuse Amazon of ignoring their plight

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Lumina Services employees protest in front of Amazon's premises at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen. © Photo Milena Aellig / Radio France via Maxppp Lumina Services employees protest in front of Amazon's premises at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen. © Photo Milena Aellig / Radio France via Maxppp

Seven workers originally from Africa were employed by a private delivery firm that worked for the giant American company in northern France from October 2021 until being laid off in February 2022. During that time they worked very long hours for low and often irregular pay. The workers insist that Amazon must have known that they were being exploited. The American group denies the workers' claims. Meanwhile the employees' case against the subcontractor is soon to be heard at an industrial tribunal. Dan Israel reports.