Michel Barnier, a former EU commissioner and chief Brexit negotiator for the bloc, is one of five contenders to become the presidential candidate for France’s conservative Les Républicains party, which will choose the nominee in a vote this week. Barnier, 70, has moved from outsider to frontrunner, the result of a remarkable ideological U-turn; once a champion of European integration and a ‘humanist’ approach to immigration, which he regarded as a positive phenomenon, he now pledges to suspend further immigration and to make France independent of the EU's legal institutions. As Ilyes Ramdani reports, Barnier’s sudden shift rightwards has proved a strategic success, notably among the nationalist current in his party.
As the 2022 presidential election edges closer there are signs that the swathe of young people who have become radicalised over the climate in France since 2018 are now starting to take a closer interest in politics and the need to vote. But as Mathieu Dejean explains in this analysis, the fragmentation on the Left ahead of next April's poll leaves many young 'climate generation' voters distinctly unimpressed.
As French President Emmanuel Macron opens a museum dedicated to the exonerated Jewish soldier, ultra-nationalists like maverick far-right polemicist and expected candidate in next year's presidential elections, Éric Zemmour, again question his innocence.
French far-right doyenne Marine Le Pen, who just months ago appeared in the running to reach the final, second-round play-off in next April’s presidential elections, is now facing a serious challenge for her electoral turf from a maverick presidential contender, the polemicist and TV pundit Éric Zemmour. While he has no party structure behind him, he is increasingly backed by the ultra-right and its ideologues, who feel betrayed by Le Pen’s attempts to purge her party’s more outspoken extremists and paper over its racist image. “I don’t care about demonization,” says fervently anti-Islam Zemmour who, despite his Jewish origins, has garnered the support of notorious anti-Semites. Lucie Delaporte reports.
Various factions on the Left are already focussing on the Parliamentary elections in June 2022, in apparent acceptance that they are unlikely to perform well at the presidential election that takes place two months earlier. Opinion polls currently suggest that the battle to be the next French head of state in April 2022 will primarily be between the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, the far-right and, just possibly, the traditional Right. The subsequent Parliamentary elections, to be held over two rounds on June 12th and June 19th, will meanwhile determine the political influence of the various parties on the Left in the National Assembly. Mathieu Dejean and Pauline Graulle report on the potential horse-trading among the Left ahead of those legislative elections and the impact this may have, too, on the race for the presidency itself.
Ahead of next year’s presidential elections, France’s conservative party, Les Républicains, has yet to choose its candidate to stand against a widely expected, although as yet unannounced, re-election bid by Emmanuel Macron. But the party has now published its policy programme. Ilyes Ramdani reports.
Michel Barnier, 70, who led the European Union's negotiations with Britain to reach a deal over the latter's departure from the bloc, has announced he will stand as a conservative candidate in next year's French presidential elections.
Originally a hybrid of centre-left and soft conservative, French President Emmanuel Macron has tacked rightward over the past year, cracking down on Islamism and talking tough on identity politics and law and order, observes The Times.