Analysis

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

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    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

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    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.

  • Pardon for battered wife highlights paradoxes of French system of government

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    President François Hollande has just granted a full pardon to Jacqueline Sauvage, a woman who killed her husband after he had continually beaten her and sexually abused their daughters. Hubert Huertas says the decision to act having hesitated for so long over the pardon sums up Hollande's presidency. He also argues that the case illustrates the limits of French democracy and highlights the issue of judicial scandals.

  • Fall of Aleppo reveals fault lines in French politics

    The end of the battle for Syria's second city and the plight of its civilians have drawn different responses from across France's political spectrum. On the Right the line taken by conservative presidential candidate François Fillon has been close to that of the far-right Front National, with his defence of the Assad regime and Vladimir Putin. The ruling Socialist Party and the Greens have emphasised their support for Syria's opposition, while the radical left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has adopted an anti-imperialist stance, with the United States as his main target. Lénaïg Bredoux, Lucie Delaporte and Christophe Gueugneau report.

  • Why François Hollande chose not to stand for re-election

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    Not seeking re-election: François Hollande. © Reuters Not seeking re-election: François Hollande. © Reuters

    Under attack from within his own political camp, President François Hollande announced on Thursday night that he will not be standing for re-election in France's presidential elections next year. His decision, announced live on television, followed a period of high tension in the highest echelons of the state during which the head of state had come under fire from his own prime minister, Manuel Valls. Mediapart's Lénaïg Bredoux reports on what led the socialist president to take this momentous decision, the first time under France's Fifth Republic that a president has chosen not to seek a new term.

  • The rise in job insecurity in the French workplace

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    The problem of unemployment is France is well-documented and discussed each month when the latest jobless totals are published. Less well-known, however, is the issue of underemployment affecting people on short-term contracts, in temporary jobs, on workplace experience or those trying to become self-employed. As Mathilde Goanec explains, there are two constant factors in this world of workplace insecurity – a rapid turnover in jobs and ever-greater problems in eventually finding full-time fixed employment.

  • Why Fillon's win has thrown down the gauntlet to the entire French Left

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    The crushing win in Sunday's conservative primary by former prime minister François Fillon shows that the French Right is not worried about its electoral opponents, writes Mediapart's Hubert Huertas. In choosing the most hardline candidate with the most radical austerity programme since the end of World War II, right-wing voters have delivered a message of supreme confidence. As far as they are concerned, it is as if left-wing opposition no longer exists. So how, he asks, will the French Left respond?

  • France's 'Iron Man': economic plans of François Fillon

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    François Fillon is favourite to be the Right's presidential candidate. © Reuters François Fillon is favourite to be the Right's presidential candidate. © Reuters

    The frontrunner in the primary election to become the presidential candidate for the French Right and centre is a known admirer of Britain's late prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was dubbed the “Iron Lady”. His economic plans include a strategic and immediate “shock” to the French system; the end of the 35-hour working week, abolition of the wealth tax, increasing the retirement age to 65 and reforming unemployment benefit and workplace rights. As Martine Orange reports ahead of Sunday's crucial second round contest, François Fillon plans to introduce these sweeping changes within the first two months if he becomes president – despite the risk that they would provoke a recession.

  • Why Nicolas Sarkozy was sent packing by the Right's voters

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    Crushing defeat: the Right's voters have massively rejected their former leader Nicolas Sarkozy.. © Reuters Crushing defeat: the Right's voters have massively rejected their former leader Nicolas Sarkozy.. © Reuters

    It is both a defeat and a humiliation. Having finished third in the Right's primary election on Sunday to choose a presidential candidate for 2017 and thus eliminated from the race, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has seen his political strategy torn to pieces. He has, in effect, been sacked by his own electorate. The unprecedented democratic election on the Right has instead witnessed the victory of hardline conservative and former prime minister François Fillon. Mediapart's editor François Bonnet analyses what led to a tumultuous night in French politics that now seems certain to mark the end of Sarkozy's political career.

  • How Wallonia became spearhead of opposition to EU-Canada trade deal

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    'Non': Walloon leader Paul Magnette rejects the CETA deal in its current form. © Reuters 'Non': Walloon leader Paul Magnette rejects the CETA deal in its current form. © Reuters

    The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA trade deal between the European Union and Canada was in deep trouble after the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to accept it, despite strong efforts behind the scenes by neighbouring France to put pressure on the French-speaking area. Finally a last-minute deal was reached on Thursday October 27th, but came too late to allow Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau to fly to Brussels to sign the deal at a summit that has now been postponed. Martine Orange looks at how a small Belgian region became a focal point of opposition to a trade deal many fear will act as a Trojan horse for North American multinationals.