The French electoral process is designed to whittle down a field of candidates to two finalists in a second round. It is therefore odd that the second round campaign is full of speculation about the tactics of unlucky candidates who found themselves knocked out on the night of 23 April.
But speculation about the strategy of various political groupings who fall by the wayside has been rife. Partly, this is because even rolling news channels can get sick of a diet of just Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, but fundamentally the race for the Legislative elections, where the French will choose new members of the National Assembly on 11 and 18 June (yes, two rounds again), is hoving into view. Whilst the President presides, his government needs to secure a majority in the National Assembly. Who wins on 7 May is therefore only one piece of the constitutional puzzle. Continue reading →
A candidate for the French presidency should not be able to win with 20% of the vote – the two round system is specifically designed to ensure that 50% plus one vote is the minimum threshold for the winner. Yet 20% is the magic number this year, for any candidate above that in the first round held this coming Sunday will almost certainly go through to the second round two weeks later. And if a candidate finds themselves against Marine Le Pen in the second round, they will probably be the next President.
For the last two weeks, four candidates have consistently polled around or above 20%, all of whom are currently within four percentage points of each other – effectively within a broad margin of error. Who gets through out of the four is anyone’s guess only four days out. How did we get here? Continue reading →
It would appear that shame is an emotion that is not in sufficient quantity in some quarters of French politics. In a stunning turn of events, the rising star of the Socialist government, Jerome Cahuzac, who resigned from his Budget portfolio last month over allegations that he had hidden money from the tax authorities in a foreign bank account, who had spent months denying the allegations, on radio, television and even in the National Assembly, who had begun libel proceedings against the news organisation that led with the accusations, has now admitted that he has an account with some 600,000 € squirreled away and that he has repeatedly lied to all concerned over its existence. He has been charged with tax related money laundering and risks prison.
The government is reeling from the betrayal and brazenness of Cahuzac. What should happen now? Continue reading →