• How Manuel Valls ended up in a blind alley

    By Hubert Huertas
    Manuel Valls (left) congratulates Benoît Hamon after the latter's victory in the January socialist primaries. Manuel Valls (left) congratulates Benoît Hamon after the latter's victory in the January socialist primaries.

    Former prime minister Manuel Valls, who resigned last December to run in the Socialist Party’s primary to choose its presidential candidate, has controversially refused to support the election campaign his leftist rival who won the contest, Benoît Hamon. But he has also refrained from backing maverick centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, whose ideas are closer to his own. Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas argues here why Valls, whose ambition was to transform the French Socialist Party into something resembling the New Labour of Tony Blair, has ended up in a political dead end and left behind him a party in tatters.

  • Macron's economic plans 'cut and pasted' from EU policies

    By martine orange

    For some years the European Union has been recommending that France carry out a series of policy initiatives in key areas such as public finances, pensions, unemployment benefit, workers' rights and even large-scale infrastructure projects such as digital development. Now, says Mediapart's Martine Orange, these policies have found a home – in centrist candidate Emmanuel Macrons's manifesto for the French presidency. In some cases they are almost word for word.

     

  • Socialist candidate Hamon struggles to make voice heard in atypical French election

    Benoît Hamon on the evening he won the socialist primary election in January 2017. © Reuters Benoît Hamon on the evening he won the socialist primary election in January 2017. © Reuters

    The official Socialist Party candidate in the French presidential election, Benoît Hamon, has been deserted by a section of the right wing of his own party who are opting to support the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron. The latest high-profile figures to support Macron are former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë and defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, a close ally of President François Hollande. Some in Hamon's team say the defections make it easier for their candidate to make his pitch on the left. But as Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux report, his campaign is so far pretty much inaudible.

  • How France's poor are turning to Marine Le Pen

    By Nonna Mayer

    In 2012 the Left attracted its biggest shares of votes in the presidential election from the poorest sectors of society. But after François Hollande's presidency that support has dwindled. In the regional elections in 2015 this electorate turned instead towards the far-right Front National, headed by Marine Le Pen. The signs are that large numbers of France's poorest voters will also back Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election in April. Academic and Front National specialist Nonna Mayer analyses the figures.

  • The Penelope Fillon mystery

    By Hubert Huertas
    capture-d-e-cran-2017-02-24-a-08-38-04

    The cover story of this week’s edition of Paris-Match is a portrait of Penelope Fillon, the British wife of the French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon. The article was clearly an attempt by François Fillon’s public relations team to dampen the scandal which has dented his campaign after it was revealed he paid his wife and two of his children out of parliamentary funds for work it is alleged was never carried out. But, writes Mediapart poltical analyst Hubert Huertas, the portrait of the central but mute character in the affair has in fact simply served to increase the mystery surrounding Penelope Fillon and the unease over her image as her husband’s “mute muse”.

  • Why scandal-hit François Fillon could yet win France's presidential elections

    By Hubert Huertas
    Down but not out: François Fillon. © Reuters Down but not out: François Fillon. © Reuters

    While mired in a scandal over allegations that he provided his family with fake jobs paid out of public funds, French conservative party presidential election candidate François Fillon has insisted he will not step down. Fillon, once the front runner in the race and now knocked off his perch and into the back line of contenders, has become a largely inaudible candidate, his public appearances compromised by regular protests, while his statements denying any wrongdoing have been notable by the frequent contradictions of his explanations. But he still believes in his chances of election. Mediapart political analyst Hubert Huertas argues here why he might well be right.

  • French presidential race: the insoluble divide of the Left

    By Hubert Huertas
    Benoît Hamon: seeking a path to party unity. Benoît Hamon: seeking a path to party unity.

    With just ten weeks to go before voting begins in the first round of France’s presidential elections, newly-elected Socialist Party candidate Benoît Hamon has revealed a campaign team made up of fellow leftwingers but also of allies of President François Hollande and former prime minister Manuel Valls.  While Hamon’s olive branch to the party’s Right may dissipate its predicted desertion in favour of maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron, it suggests there can be little, if any, chance that he can reach an alliance with radical-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Mediapart political analyst Hubert Huertas sketches here the fundamental divide between Mélenchon and Hamon and what is at stake for the future of the Socialist Party.

  • Macron attracts the crowds – but where are his policies?

    By Mathieu Magnaudeix
    The glitzy Emmanuel Macron rally at Lyon on Saturday February 4th, 2017. © Reuters The glitzy Emmanuel Macron rally at Lyon on Saturday February 4th, 2017. © Reuters

    With just over 70 days to go before the first round of the French presidential election, former economy minister Emmanuel Macron continues to attract large crowds to his rallies and is doing well in the opinion polls. Yet what does the founder of the 'En Marche!' political movement - who keeps talking about “bringing people together” - actually plan to do if he is elected president? Mathieu Magnaudeix attended Macron's latest gathering but came away little the wiser.

  • The thwarted generation of socialists taking a tilt at the French presidency

    By stéphane alliès and Donatien Huet
    Clockwise, from top left: Benoît Hamon, Arnaud Montebourg, Manuel Valls and Vincent Peillon. © Reuters Clockwise, from top left: Benoît Hamon, Arnaud Montebourg, Manuel Valls and Vincent Peillon. © Reuters

    The four main contenders to be the official mainstream socialist candidate for the 2017 French presidential elections, Benoît Hamon, Arnaud Montebourg, Vincent Peillon and Manuel Valls, know each other extremely well. For more than 20 years the members of this quartet have occupied important positions and roles in the Socialist Party and were once hailed as a new generation destined to modernise the party. Now, having never been able to form lasting alliances among themselves, and having been 'blocked' by the generation above them, the four are all standing against each other in the party's primary to choose a candidate for the Elysée. Stéphane Alliès and Donatien Huet report on four politicians who have waited a long time for their chance to become president.

  • John Berger the writer who changed how we look at things: a view from Paris

    By Antoine Perraud

    The celebrated British art critic and writer John Berger has died in Paris at the age of 90. Mediapart's Antoine Perraud says that his work as a thinker and writer has helped change the way we look not just at art but the whole world around us. Here is his appreciation of Berger's life and work.