Analysis

  • French Left divisions deepen ahead of April presidential elections

    By and
    Christiane Taubira announcing her election bid in Lyon, January 15th 2022. © Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP Christiane Taubira announcing her election bid in Lyon, January 15th 2022. © Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP

    Unable to unite around a single candidate for France’s presidential elections in April, France’s profoundly divided broad Left faces a trouncing at the polls. Its stand-alone candidates were joined at the weekend by Christiane Taubira, an icon for some among the socialist movement, whose bid threatens to further splinter the leftwing vote. Fabien Escalona and Mathilde Goanec report.

  • Macron's 'out of touch' New Year's address to the nation ahead of presidential election

    By
    Emmanuel Macron during his televised New Year's message on December 31st 2021, the last of his presidency. © Martin Bureau/AFP Emmanuel Macron during his televised New Year's message on December 31st 2021, the last of his presidency. © Martin Bureau/AFP

    On Friday evening Emmanuel Macron delivered the final New Year's presidential broadcast to the nation of his five-year term of office. Ahead of April's presidential elections – for which Macron has yet to officially declare himself as a candidate – the incumbent gave a rapid overview of what he sees as his achievements in office. Despite the Covid pandemic, President Macron sought to describe a political landscape that embraced both “optimism” and “tolerance” - an assessment, says Ellen Salvi, that stands in stark contrast to the reality of his presidency. Political opponents immediately accused the president of being “out of touch”.

  • Macron's election balancing act on Europe

    By
    Emmanuel Macron at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9th 2021. © Photo Frédéric Florin/AFP Emmanuel Macron at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9th 2021. © Photo Frédéric Florin/AFP

    Emmanuel Macron has still to announce his widely expected bid for a second term in office in next April’s presidential elections. His eventual rivals accuse him of unfairly using his position to already campaign in disguise, and notably when France takes over the rotating, six-month presidency of the EU Council on January 1st. As Ellen Salvi reports, it will give Macron the opportunity of testing his election campaign arguments to win over the Eurosceptics among his potential electorate on the Right, and notably on the handling of the Covid-19 crisis and immigration controls.

  • How anti-fascists get dubbed 'fascists': the French far-right ploy to subvert language

    By
    The setting for the political rally held by Éric Zemmour on December 5th 2021 at Villepinte near Paris. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The setting for the political rally held by Éric Zemmour on December 5th 2021 at Villepinte near Paris. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    How is it that 'antifas' or anti-fascist activists are now described as “fascist” in certain quarters of the French media? Or that anti-racists have become the new racists? Lucie Delaporte looks at the way in which the French far-right have long subverted the meaning of words in a deliberate attempt to make extremist labels meaningless.

  • How Right will she be? Presidential hopeful Valérie Pécresse's tricky political balancing act

    By
    Éric Ciotti and Valérie Pécresse at the HQ of their party Les Républicains, Saturday December 6th. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart Éric Ciotti and Valérie Pécresse at the HQ of their party Les Républicains, Saturday December 6th. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    Valérie Pécresse's victory in becoming the presidential candidate for the right-wing Les Républicains for the 2022 election has been greeted with an opinion poll suggesting she can defeat incumbent President Emmanuel Macron. However, the president of the Paris region is faced with a political quandary: how does she retain support from those who backed her nearest challenger for the candidacy, right-winger Éric Ciotti, who are attracted by the far right, without repelling the “moderate” right-wing voters who currently support Macron? As Ilyes Ramdani reports, it is the first key strategic challenge of her campaign - and perhaps the most crucial one.

  • Repression and death: how French-made weapons are being used in global conflicts

    By
    A French-made Rafale fighter jet at Athens, September 5th 2021. © Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via AFP A French-made Rafale fighter jet at Athens, September 5th 2021. © Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via AFP

    Despite this country's proclaimed values and its international commitments, French-made weapons are being used to carry out repression and kill civilians in some of the worst conflicts on the planet, including in the Middle East. On the eve of President Emmanuel Macron's tour of Gulf states on 3rd and 4th December, in which further arms deals may be clinched, Mediapart lists some of the conflicts where exported French armaments are being deployed. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

  • Why France's 'climate generation' is wary of the Left ahead of presidential election

    By
    Demonstrators at the March for the Climate in Paris, March 28th 2021. © Photo Thomas Dévényi / Hans Lucas via AFP Demonstrators at the March for the Climate in Paris, March 28th 2021. © Photo Thomas Dévényi / Hans Lucas via AFP

    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.

  • France's ultra-right desert Le Pen for maverick presidential hopeful Éric Zemmour

    By
    Éric Zemmour: "I don’t care about demonization." © Photo montage Mediapart Éric Zemmour: "I don’t care about demonization." © Photo montage Mediapart

    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.

  • Is the French Left already resigned to defeat at the 2022 presidential election?

    By and
    The National Assembly. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart The National Assembly. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    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.

  • France's timid political response to damning report on child sex abuse in Catholic Church

    Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the independent CIASE commission into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, presenting his report in Paris on October 5th 2021. © Photo Thomas Coex / AFP Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the independent CIASE commission into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, presenting his report in Paris on October 5th 2021. © Photo Thomas Coex / AFP

    On Tuesday October 5th a report revealed the shocking scale of child sex abuse inside the French Catholic Church over many decades. The report's authors estimate that 330,000 minors have been the victims of sexual abuse within the church since 1950, a majority of them at the hands of ordained clergy. Since the report's publication the overall reaction from the political classes, both Left and Right, has seemed timid. Some politicians, however, are calling for the courts to intervene and for the church to undergo deep reform. Mathieu Dejean, Mathilde Goanec, Pauline Graulle and Ilyes Ramdani report.