Analysis

  • Abdellatif Hammouchi: Morocco's spy chief at the heart of the Pegasus affair

    Abdellatif Hammouchi during a visit to the COP22 international conference on the climate at Marrakesh, November 8th 2016. © Photo Illustration Mediapart avec Fadel Senna / AFP Abdellatif Hammouchi during a visit to the COP22 international conference on the climate at Marrakesh, November 8th 2016. © Photo Illustration Mediapart avec Fadel Senna / AFP

    The Pegasus scandal has helped throw a spotlight on the repressive regime in Morocco, which is accused of using the Israeli-made spyware to target the phones of thousands of people, including politicians and journalists in France. In particular it has focused attention on the North African kingdom's top cop and spy chief Abdellatif Hammouchi and his role in the affair. As Mediapart reports, this key figure in the Moroccan state apparatus is feared in many Western capitals, including Paris.

  • France's compromising and cosy relationship with Morocco's repressive regime

    By and
    Moroccan king Mohammed VI with French president François Hollande, Jack Lang, president of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and labour minister Myriam El Khomri on a train to Tangiers, September 20th 2015. © Photo Alain Jocard / AFP Moroccan king Mohammed VI with French president François Hollande, Jack Lang, president of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and labour minister Myriam El Khomri on a train to Tangiers, September 20th 2015. © Photo Alain Jocard / AFP

    The Pegasus spyware revelations show how Morocco has targeted at least 10,000 mobile phones in recent years. These include the phones of several dozen French citizens, including journalists, the president of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and government ministers and senior opposition figures. Yet for the last thirty years the political, media and cultural elites here in France have closed their eyes to the repressive behaviour of the North African monarchy. Lénaïg Bredoux and Iyes Ramdani report.

  • Macron trumpets own record as he announces mandatory vaccines for health staff and Covid 'passports'

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    President Emmanuel Macron's televised address on July 12th 2021. © Sébastien Calvet/Mediapart President Emmanuel Macron's televised address on July 12th 2021. © Sébastien Calvet/Mediapart

    The French president addressed the nation on the evening of Monday July 12th to announce that all health workers will have to get a Covid vaccination between now and September 15th. In addition, Emmanuel Macron said that citizens will soon require a Covid pass or 'passport' for many social activities; for cinemas from July 21st and for bars and restaurants from the start of August, as well as for train journeys and longer coach trips. At the same time the president took the opportunity to praise his own track record as head of state before and during the Covid crisis and to set out some potentially controversial reforms just months ahead of next April's presidential election. Ellen Salvi reports on the president's latest televised address.

  • French regional elections 2021: far right flops, Right does well and Left hangs on amid voter apathy

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    Marine Le Pen gave a brief speech after her party's poor showing in the regional elections on June 20th 2021. © Hans Lucas via AFP Marine Le Pen gave a brief speech after her party's poor showing in the regional elections on June 20th 2021. © Hans Lucas via AFP

    The first round of France's regional and département or county elections took place on Sunday June 20th and one of the major stories of the day was the record level of abstention, with nearly two out of three voters staying home. A year before the presidential election another key outcome was the poor showing of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN), led by Marine Le Pen, which despite doing well in opinion polls only came top in one region. Elsewhere the biggest winners of the night were the conservative Right, while the vote for the Left and the Greens held up better than many had predicted.  Perhaps the biggest loser of the night was Emmanuel Macron's ruling La République en Marche party which failed even to come second in any region. The second and final round of voting takes place on Sunday June 27th. Mathilde Goanec, Ellen Salvi, Lucie Delaporte, Ilyes Ramdani and Pauline Graulle report.

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  • Sexual abuse: studies suggest lesbians and bisexual women are the principal victims

    By Rozenn Le Carboulec
    A ‘lesbian march’ rally at the Place de la République in central Paris calling for access for all women to assisted reproductive technology (ART), April 25th 2021. © GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP A ‘lesbian march’ rally at the Place de la République in central Paris calling for access for all women to assisted reproductive technology (ART), April 25th 2021. © GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

    A series of studies in France suggest that lesbians and bisexual women are far more exposed to sexual violence than heterosexual women, as a result of sexist and lesphobic behaviour in both their domestic and societal environments. Rozenn Le Carboulec analyses the available data.

  • How crime writer Jean Meckert captured the grim mood of postwar France

    By Sébastien Omont (En attendant Nadeau)
    chezlesanarchistes

    The late novelist, crime writer and screenwriter Jean Meckert, who sometimes wrote under the name Jean Amila, chronicled society in post-war France in a series of articles for a weekly publication. Many of these have now been collected in a book called 'Chez les anarchistes'. Written between 1946 and 1956, they reveal a downtrodden mood in parts of French society that was far removed from the high hopes that Liberation had brought at the end of World War II. They also show an author who was wearied by events but never resigned to them, and whose humour and energy outshone any disillusion. Sébastien Omont of the online literary review En attendant Nadeau explores Meckert's post-war articles.

  • French Left split in two ahead of 2022 presidential elections

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    Not seeing eye-to-eye: Éric Piolle from the Green EELV party (left) with radical-left LFI party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon in Lille, May 1st 2021. © SYLVAIN LEFEVRE/Hans Lucas/ Hans Lucas via AFP Not seeing eye-to-eye: Éric Piolle from the Green EELV party (left) with radical-left LFI party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon in Lille, May 1st 2021. © SYLVAIN LEFEVRE/Hans Lucas/ Hans Lucas via AFP

    In just less than 12 months, France goes to the polls in presidential elections. On the Left, two distinct blocs are emerging, with separate policies and strategies, no common candidate and the prospect of a political crash. But could growing forecasts of a strong performance, and even victory, by the far-right yet force a union of the Left? Pauline Graulle reports.

  • How President Macron lost his economic gamble over Covid

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    Lost gamble? Economy minister Bruno Le Maire and President Emmanuel Macron. © Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP Lost gamble? Economy minister Bruno Le Maire and President Emmanuel Macron. © Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP

    President Emmanuel Macron is said to have taken a “gamble” over health restrictions by not locking down France for the third time when the number of Covid-19 cases started rising once more in January. But the head of state has also gambled on the economy too. The French government thought that it could moderate the impact of the epidemic on economic activity through more limited but longer term restrictions. But as Romaric Godin reports, the French “economic resistance” proclaimed by the government could well turn out to be a painful illusion for the country and its public.

  • How the notion of France's long-cherished 'Republic' has been hijacked

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     © Mediapart © Mediapart

    The word 'Republican' has a hugely positive place in the French collective memory. But recently the concept has come to be used – and abused - as a form of political shorthand to tell people to obey the rules. Mediapart's Fabien Escalona talks to French academics about the shifting meaning of the concept and how it is now cited more to protect existing privileges rather than to extend safeguards and rights to new groups.

  • How the Balladur verdict highlights fatal flaws of CJR - France's ministerial court

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    Former PM Édouard  Balladur arriving at the CJR on January 19th 2021. © Alain JOCARD / AFP Former PM Édouard Balladur arriving at the CJR on January 19th 2021. © Alain JOCARD / AFP

    On Thursday March 4th 2021 the Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) – which tries cases of alleged ministerial misconduct – cleared former French prime minister Édouard Balladur of any wrongdoing in the long-running Karachi affair. At the same time it found Balladur's former defence minister François Léotard guilty of complicity in the misuse of assets and handed him a two-year suspended prison sentence. The verdicts were much more lenient than those for ministerial aides in the earlier criminal trial involving the same affair. Karl Laske wonders how long the hybrid CJR court, most of whose 'judges' are politicians, can survive.