Analysis

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

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    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.

  • Catholic Church sex abuse scandal: the French government's double standards over 'separatism'

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     © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    For months the French government has continually raised concerns about what it sees as the dangers of “Islamic separatism” in the country and has brought in legislation to tackle it. Yet when in the wake of a major report on child sex abuse in the French Catholic Church a senior bishop suggested that the secrets of the confessional were stronger than the “Republic's laws” there was at first a deafening silence from government ministers. This reluctance to comment came on top of the government's clear embarrassment at the publication of the sex abuse report itself, a document which produced shocking figures on the extent of the scandal in the church. Ellen Salvi reports.

  • Why Macron's 'conspiracy theory' commission has already lost credibility

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     © Photomontage Mediapart avec AFP © Photomontage Mediapart avec AFP

    On September 29th 2021 the Élysée officially unveiled a new commission to help fight against conspiracy theories and disinformation. Officially called the 'Enlightenment in the digital age' commission, President Emmanuel Macron wants it to champion science, reason and truth and come up with new policy options in an era where social media in particular is awash with a bewildering array of views and theories. Critics, however, accuse the head of state of wanting to impose his own narrative ahead of next April's presidential election. Already the membership of the commission has been bitterly criticised, in particular its chair, social scientist Gérald Bronner. And after also coming under fire another member, Professor Guy Vallancien, a high-profile urologist, has just resigned from the body. Joseph Confavreux and Ellen Salvi report.

  • Why SPD election victory in Germany is no new dawn for Europe’s social democrats

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    Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s candidate to become Germany’s new chancellor, September 27th 2021. © Christof Stache / AFP Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s candidate to become Germany’s new chancellor, September 27th 2021. © Christof Stache / AFP

    Germany’s social democrat SPD party came first in the country’s parliamentary elections on September 26th, garnering just more than a quarter of votes cast. It places the centre-left party in prime position to form a new coalition government, which would see Olaf Scholz, the party’s candidate for chancellor, succeed the outgoing Angela Merkel. But, writes Fabien Escalona in this analysis of the wider implications of the election, the knife-edge victory of the once moribund SPD is very much a relative one, and is far from auguring a resurgence of the social democrat movement in Europe, despite similarly fragile recent wins in Nordic countries.

  • Europe's hypocrisy over Afghan refugees

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    Families at the Pakistan border fleeing the Taliban advance, August 16th 2021. © Photo AFP Families at the Pakistan border fleeing the Taliban advance, August 16th 2021. © Photo AFP

    Most European Union countries waited until the last minute before suspending expulsions of Afghans who had sought asylum on their soil. Now that the Taliban have seized power in Kabul, the 27 EU foreign ministers are meeting this Tuesday to decide the next steps to take. A dignified welcome for Afghan exiles who have already arrived on their territory would be a first sign of solidarity, says Mediapart's Carine Fouteau.

  • 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

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    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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