Going back to France for a month (allegedly dedicated to revisions), I found myself enthralled by the political climate of the presidential elections to come this Sunday. French news certainly devoted their front page to such a crucial, or rather critical, issue. All in all, I realised one thing: if Frenchmen seldom love to love, they most certainly love to hate.
The Right: Victims or Thieves?
François Fillon probably became the most loathed candidate in the shortest amount of time. Whether he is a legitimate candidate or not, most express their moral opinion about the scandal he is involved into. To some, that scandal is nothing but a wide conspiracy designed to prevent his party from winning. Others claim that people should not be surprised by such events, as corruption has been plaguing the French political sphere for centuries: creating fictional jobs for your wife or receiving “gifts” from a millionaire is normal. All in all, he is either lapidated or protected. The man himself appears to have aged ten years in the past ten days, and probably regrets his grand desire for the presidency in a country where people either wander in cafés or grumble about their useless politicians.
His political death, far from satisfying bloodthirsty journalists, did not make the other candidates look more appealing in comparison. Marine Le Pen, our own little Trump, still fails to seduce the majority (but is that really a surprise?). Some argue she is better than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the senile and delusional racist. She even fled from the patriarchal home when Jean-Marie’s cruel dogs killed her poor kitten. Her tenderness for animals may be her only weak spot: petty attacks and vile recriminations have been her main weapons during the joust. Marine never misses an occasion to criticise her fellow candidates, especially dear (or dead) François, even though she is far from reproachable herself. Unless stealing from the European Parliament to pay her own party members is not comparable to receiving bribes: it appears the European Union she so loathed has proved quite useful to her. At least, she never proclaimed to be the candidate of honesty.
The Left: Ghosts and Holograms
The Right wing is in bad shape… but is the Left so much better? Benoît Hamon, where have you been? Noticeable only by his discretion (or absence), the candidate of the socialist party has definitely not reached any peak in the electorate surveys. But Hamon’s lack of popularity should not come as a shock after his predecessor, our dear president Hollande, was lynched for five years. The people refuse to hear any more about the guy whose last name is that of another country or about his party. Too bad, no one even bothered to evaluate his presidency. Maybe French people would then realise he has not been such a terrible president. As I said, Frenchmen love to hate, to blame, and they are spiteful.
But the Left is not doomed, no, far from it! Our great “strength of the people”, candidate of the nation, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, shall save France from decay! The refreshing candidate, who seduces all by his eloquence, wit and crudeness, has ironically occupied the front page of the 2017 campaign, although he already was a candidate in 2012 (and few had heard of him…). He is the voice of the citizens, embraces French political history and loves lyrical speeches. His eloquence and charisma have lured everyone into forgetting he is a communist (although he would never say so outspokenly). His “fans” also seem to have not read his program, which is rather radical: a civic revolution, a new constitution (no less!), “Frexit”… A glamourous utopia veiled by mass meetings where he intervenes, not in person, but as a hologram! For the candidate who demands an equal distribution of wealth, he certainly knows how to spend his money.
The centre: a fog
Four major candidates are more than enough for the citizens to find the perfect match. Or are they? Our “jeune premier”, Emmanuel Macron, must not be forgotten among the list of favourites for this election. He certainly accomplished a prowess by rising as a potential candidate with no party behind him, and a rather short political career. Our former philosopher/banker/economic/minister attracts attention (and criticism) due to his unusual way of doing politics. Most still wonder who Macron really is: an intriguing career, a wife who used to be his teacher, ill-defined opinions… He is often accused of being a demagogic chameleon because of his tendency to agree with everyone and his vague (or non-existent) program. Our little Emmanuel wants to abandon the traditional politics in France: the dramatic opposition between left and right is useless to him and does not allow people true representation, he believes. Yet, what all seem to wonder is whether he is a leftist or a rightist…
For the first time, the French presidential elections have truly reflected the multi-party system. The latest polls revealed a leading trio: Macron obtained 23% of the vote intentions, Marine Le Pen 22% and François Fillon 21%. Jen-Luc Mélenchon is close behind with a hopeful 18%, and Benoît Hamon is further down with 8%. The first round of the elections should therefore be quite surprising. All in all, French people have been so preoccupied with attempting to guess who the president will be and criticising the candidates that they did not think a new terrorist attack in Paris would be coming. Does this event represent a bad omen for the coming elections? Hopefully, the next French president will actively seek to understand why France has been continuously targeted…