Analysis

  • French parliamentary elections: once more, nothing is happening as foreseen

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    Emmanuel Macron (left) with his République en Marche! movement's general secretary Richard Ferrand. Emmanuel Macron (left) with his République en Marche! movement's general secretary Richard Ferrand.

    The result of France’s parliamentary elections in June appears as uncertain as, just weeks ago, did that of the presidential elections. President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s fledgling République en Marche! movement has unveiled 428 candidates it will field, comprised mostly of political rookies and unknowns. Meanwhile, the old traditional parties, apprehensive after their presidential election defeat, place their hopes in the electorate backing off from the political unknown of the newly-elected maverick president. Mediapart’s political commentator Hubert Huertas examines why, in these crucial elections, once again nothing is happening as was foreseen.

  • French parties face battle for survival in June parliamentary elections

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    France goes back to the polls next month for crucial legislative elections to decide the composition of the 577-seat lower house, the National Assembly. President-elect Emmanuel Macron’s newly-created maverick centrist movement is hoping to win a majority and, in the process, smash the power of traditional parties of the Left and Right and halt the surge of the far-right. Whatever the outcome of this most uncertain battle for survival, the configuration of the French political scene will emerge profoundly altered, argues political scientist Fabien Escalona.

  • Macron's campaign hampered by his own image

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    Emmanuel Macron at the Chamber of Commerce in Amiens, April 26th, 2017. © Nicolas Serve / Hans Lucas Emmanuel Macron at the Chamber of Commerce in Amiens, April 26th, 2017. © Nicolas Serve / Hans Lucas

    Emmanuel Macron's appeals for a unified front against the far right's Marine Le Pen in the run-off for the presidential election have been hit by a major handicap – himself. The former merchant banker and civil servant's CV, image and policies repel many on both the Left and Right. In response he has sought to offer pledges for those who did not vote for him in the first round. But in essence, says Mathieu Magnaudeix, the centrist candidate is holding to his policy line and is aiming for a major and rapid realignment of French politics if he is elected.

  • French Left torn over whether to vote in Macron-Le Pen second round

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    One voter's view: they want neither a candidate of 'finance' or one of 'hate'. One voter's view: they want neither a candidate of 'finance' or one of 'hate'.

    Voters on the French Left are already fed up. Fed up that their candidates did not make it through to the second round of the French presidential election on May 7th, and fed up about being told to vote for a candidate whom they despise - Emmanuel Macron – in order to stop the far right's Marine Le Pen from gaining power. As Lénaïg Bredoux reports, some voters on the Left say that they do not want to give centrist Macron a convincing mandate and that they will either not vote or will leave their ballot paper blank – unless the outcome looks too close to call.

  • Presidential election: a political earthquake bringing down France's Fifth Republic

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    Emmanuel Macron just a few days before the first round of the election. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron just a few days before the first round of the election. © Reuters

    The elimination of the candidates for the two main parties of government, centrist Emmanuel Macron coming top and the spectacular breakthrough by radical left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his Unbowed France movement constitute a political upheaval without precedent since 1958. After Sunday's first-round French presidential election vote, each political camp is now talking about a complete realignment of the political battlefield, and everything needs to be rebuilt. This is excellent news, argues Mediapart's editor François Bonnet.

  • Introducing the 'Hollande law', a take on that of Godwin

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    Au revoir, or 'Salut l'artiste!': François Hollande. Au revoir, or 'Salut l'artiste!': François Hollande.

    As he prepares to leave office with the approach of the presidential elections, François Hollande is faced with the track-record of his term as head of state, and it is a vertiginous one argues Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas. He leaves behind him a Socialist Party in tatters and while handing his support to Emmanuel Macron, his former advisor and economy minister, who slammed the door in Hollande's face to run for the presidency on a centrist ticket.

  • How France's approach to its overseas territories is stuck in the past

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    French minister Ericka Bareigts said sorry to French Guiana - but will it herald change? © Eric Bosc French minister Ericka Bareigts said sorry to French Guiana - but will it herald change? © Eric Bosc

    For decades there has been a string of legal and economic initiatives by France aimed at improving the lot of its overseas territories. Yet as the current crisis in French Guiana shows, these measures have failed to have a noticeable impact on the 2.7 million French people who live in those regions. Julien Sartre reports on how an outdated model of development applied to these territories still shows no signs of being updated.

  • How Manuel Valls ended up in a blind alley

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    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

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    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.