Anyway, the "official" campaign began today. Every second of airtime is now counted, and each of the 11 candidates has the same amount of time for news reports of speeches or commentary about the candidate.
Each candidate has a grand total of 43 minutes for official campaign messages on the state television and radio stations: 10 messages each lasting 90 seconds, and 8 messages lasting three and a half minutes. These are grouped and broadcast before and after the evening news in most cases.
The only posters allowed are the official ones on the signboards at the polling stations. The blue-white-red of the French flag cannot be used on the posters.
Every registered voter will receive a thick envelope of campaign tracts in about a week. Only recycled paper may be used.
These rules are all well and good... but there is no controlling the internet.
Hollande's statement was a coded way of saying that he supports Emmanuel Macron. It would be a total betrayal for him to say it directly since the official Socialist candidate is Bénoît Hamon and he is too much of a traditional politician for him to totally abandon the candidate of his own political party.
Yesterday was kind of fun in terms of nasty statements when Macron replied to the concept that Mélenchon is a political maverick. He said "Mélenchon was already a senator in the Socialist party when I was still in junior high."
No predictions yet. The situation is still too volatile and everything is still in the hands of the people who will decide whether or not they will even bother to vote next Sunday.
There was an interesting poll in the newspaper today concerning only voters of the Front National, asking the question "For what reason have you voted in the past for National Front candidates or party lists?"
43% -- to show dissatisfaction with the other political parties 35% -- to show agreement with the party's evaluation of the condition of the country 34% -- belief in the solutions proposed regarding immigration and integration 31% -- because the Front National is the party that cares the most about "people like me" 19% -- to show agreement with the economic and social solutions proposed by the party 11% -- because the leaders of the party seem to be the best qualified to govern the country and/or the local region/city 9% -- appreciation of the personality of Marine Le Pen 8% -- personal knowledge regarding the candidates
There is room for all sorts of debates about simply the order of the list!
What is most frightening there is the certitude of the Le Pen vote. I'll have to look up the two guys who are to the right of her...
Not much to the right of le Pen other than Attila the Hun.
Interesting list posted by Kerouac about why people vote for her/National Front. Mostly dissatisfaction with things as they are, which would explain the former left-wing working class voters having switched. And the same delusion as with Trump -- that a millionaire cares about "people like us".
So Kerouac -- or anyone else here who closely follows French politics -- do you want to make a prediction at this point?
No French will risk to make a prediction, except François Fillon who knows he's going to win. I'm not the only one who think the guy is insane. If he loses, as I hope, I wouldn't be surprised if he claims the election was rigged. You have to hear how he speaks of the justice. I think he's no less a danger for democracy than Marine Le Pen. If they both pass the first round, at the second round I will stay in my bed.
It's the first time I'm so involved in the campaign. It will be the first time my candidate has a chance to pass the first round and hopefully to win. Usually I vote Far Left on the first round. On the second I vote against the right.
Lately it has become difficult to tell the right from the left between the so-called socialist party and the traditional right. Last time I casted my ballot for Hollande I had to pinch my nose. I didn't expect much, or rather I expected nothing but to get rid of Sarkozy. OK, we got rid of Sarkozy but we got a president who busied himself all along his mandate to steal from the poor to give to the rich. Hollande is also the guy who awarded the Legion Of Honor to a mass murderer: President François Hollande awarded his nation’s most prestigious award to the heir to the Saudi throne From that day I swore I won't vote anymore for this party or any politicians who were in this government/administration at the time.
I took two of the tests on the news sites about "find out which candidate you really support."
The first time, the result was Jean-Luc Mélenchon. No surprise there, although until 2012 I always voted for Lutte Ouvrière and then moved on to NPA when Besancenot was the candidate. In recent elections I have been more wary (and older, I suppose) and while I never believed the (often wild) promises of the far left, the fact that they would never be elected did not make it risky for the first round as long as it was just a concrete opinion poll of what some of the voters supported. We always hoped that this would give a tiny bit of new inspiration to the remaining candidate claiming to be on the left. But I don't feel safe doing that anymore.
I took the second test this morning and while my answers were in total conformity with what I replied on the first test, this time I was told to vote for Jean Lasalle.
Speaking of the Légion d'Honneur, Hollande is handing out his last set of awards this week -- 562 of them. This distinction has become so common now as to be meaningless except to the recipients and their press attachés. The latest group includes Claude Chirac (daughter of), François Pinault (busy building a new museum in Paris), Agnès Varda, Audrey Tautou (Amélie)... Frankly, you really do not have to do much these days.
An interesting poll Kerouac, I guess that I voted for UKIP for similar reasons, which also says why I voted for Brexit. Now UKIP are busy stabbing each other in the back I am lost, because the other parties are virtually identical politically correct prats, with no idea of the real world
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position
Is it wrong for a lefty to hope for a Mélenchon-Le Pen final? The left, not just in France but Europe and the US, has had almost nobody in a position to threaten power for ages and I reckon that match-up would be the best chance of having a politician who isn't a fake leftist, neoliberal like Hollande actually prevail. The current elite consensus across the West is to only allow putatively "left" candidates like Hollande or Clinton who are fully onboard with the rapacious, evil globalist neoliberal capitalist project near the levers of power, and a Mélenchon-Le Pen match-up is our best chance in decades to see someone who is actually of the left assume power in a major Western nation. The gazillionaire puppet neoliberals have had their time; it's time now for corrective measures to be brought to bear. I fully trust the French electorate to do the right thing if such a stark choice is put before them. Once people see a national leader who actually prioritizes the common people over the tiny ultra-wealthy minority, I think the idea will spread.
When the "left" is represented by people like Hollande, there is no hope at all.
Frankly, I would have liked to be able to support Mélenchon since many of his proposals correspond to my vision of how things should be. But there is the big problem that quite a few of them do not. He has been backpedaling quite a lot on the Bolivarian Alliance which he wanted France to join. This is an association of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and some of the Caribbean microstates, the brainchild of Hugo Chavez. It is in opposition to Mercosur, and even though France is also a South American country because of the department of French Guiana, I frankly do not think that the countries in question would be appropriate partners of France at the moment when we have enough to deal with in the EU as a priority. Mélenchon has also been a passive supporter of Putin as well as Al-Assad by extension. He is also basically a Germanophobe when Germany is the most important ally and economic partner of France. As a sovereignist, his view of the EU is quite close to what Marine Le Pen thinks about the subject. So, no, there is no way that I can support him in view of these elements.
Nevertheless, he is the most brilliant candidate, the best orator and the most cultured and eloquent of all of the candidates. His campaign has been the best and by far the most dynamic when all of the other candidates spent a lot of time trying to tone down their ideas to offend fewer people. If I just listened to him speak and did not read his programme, I could vote for him in a heartbeat.
I should also mention that a couple of other things bother me about him -- he is too old, has been in politics for far too long and reminds me of an incarnation of the old Communist Party chief Georges Marchais (who died in 1997). I do not need a reincarnation of Georges Marchais although Mélenchon has far more culture than Marchais ever did.
It will be an interesting election and even more interesting because of the legislative elections one month later. I absolutely cannot imagine that any of the four candidates has a snowball's chance in hell of winning a majority in the National Assembly, so it will be essential for a coalition to be formed. Le Pen can not form a coalition with anybody, so that's good -- but in any case, every projection shows that she could not win the election no matter whom she would be against in the runoff (knock on wood). That leaves the other three. What will they do when faced with the situation?
I would argue that calling Mélenchon a "passive supporter of Putin" is questionable at best. Here are his own words in translation:
"I think it is useful to specify [my position on developments in Ukraine] in black and white. I’m doing it in broad brushstrokes so that the advanced minds in the newsrooms can understand. I’m doing it in their language, saying what "I support" and what "I condemn”. Please understand me: my comments here are an express warning sign for the Mickey Mouse minds of the media world. Let's go: I do not support Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Neither do I support the de facto actual authorities of the Ukraine, nor the kleptocrats of the previous constitutional government. However, contrary to [Green member of the European Parliament] Daniel Cohn-Bendit, I am not in favour of war with Russia! While I think that the Russians have nothing to do outside their bases in the Crimea, I also condemn the attempted encirclement of Russia by NATO which is the cause of their action. I condemn the neo-Nazi anti-semitism of the de facto ministers in power in the Ukraine and support their rapid expulsion from the government. I say this in accordance with the recommendations of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on December 13, 2012. And I use the occasion to point out that this resolution, “On the Ukraine”, comes from the social liberals, the right and the Greens, to whom Daniel Cohn –Bendit belongs. It says unambiguously: "Parliament is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda Party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada [Ukaine's parliament]; recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU's fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.” That’s what Cohn-Bendit personally signed and voted for. Was he supporting Putin on that occasion because Putin also condemned the Ukrainian neo-Nazis? Of course not! Yet that is what he accuses me of having done. This hasn’t finished. I also condemn the provocations of the de facto government of the Ukraine such as the application for membership of NATO and the withdrawal of Russian as an official language of the Ukraine, spoken moreover by a majority in the Donbas and the Crimea. I think the United States have nothing to do in this area, and I condemn its belligerent activism. In short, my camp is that of peace against war. Because war on the old continent involving everybody has again become possible. One way to avoid this is to refuse to play with matches in this tinderbox. Yet this is what the traditional “looks-like-war” gang do in this type of situation. Far from making an assessment of the record of wars they have caused or called for in the last 20 years, they demand more. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Kosovo -- they’ve learned nothing, and want to learn nothing. Their interest is not peace or war: it’s in their fanatical Atlanticist “natural destiny”. At the same time, what the merchants of the “looks-like-war” articles are selling are not facts. Take the presence of Russian military. According to French general Vincent Desportes it is committing no illegality. On March 2, 2014, he told BFM TV: “Russia is not violating any law, international or otherwise. Under the agreement signed with the Ukraine, the Russian Federation is authorised to have a force of 25,000 men on Ukrainian territory. Now, even with the latest troop movements, Russian forces do not amount to more than 15,000 men in the Crimea, so we are still well short of the total. And the Ukraine is neither part of the European Union or NATO. Therefore, neither the EU nor NATO are inclined or authorised to intervene in Ukraine.” Distancing oneself from the de facto government of Ukraine is not to do the same with the insurgent movement that overthrew the previous kleptocratic regime. Quite the reverse. For me, this movement is full of twists and turns, which will provide many an opportunity for the forces that may be an alternative. I support the protests and mass insurrection that stood up against the powers-that-be. That the most questionable elements have been leading the process against those in power is simply a fact of struggle common to all revolutionary periods. Perhaps it is going through a bad patch that will pass. Because it seems that Ukrainians of all political colours retain much of their revolutionary energy. Several revolutionary sequences have linked together without that energy dispersing. What should the new authorities do now? Introduce an unpopular policy at the highest level to repay the debt and to meet the country’s financial obligations? Don’t think that the situation will calm down. The interests involved are too large: English, French, Austrian, German -- the main European economies are heavily involved in the Ukraine, and in Russia, in all possible ways. I have also stressed that from now on it is accepted in Europe that an elected president and his government can be driven from power when he is unpopular and when there are corrupt ministers and the people suffer shameful sacrifices while a small minority becomes obscenely rich. I can attest to the fact that this message has been well received in the field! Indeed, at the demonstration of European railway workers in which I took part in Strasbourg [on February 24], I lost count of those who challenged me with: “Do we have to do like the Ukraine to get heard? This is the first time in my 30 years of political life that I have heard workers refer to a popular uprising taking place beyond our borders. The Ukrainian rebels are to be thanked from the bottom of our hearts! Back to the Mickey Mouses of the media. Here is my position in a nutshell. The Ukrainian popular uprising was legitimate. It has been taken over by an illegitimate and illegal government in which the extreme right has four ministers. The revolutionary force of the Ukrainians is not exhausted. The next wave will be anti-European, that is to say hostile to the policies that the EU wants to impose there to recover its banking and financial stake. Currently the number one issue is to avoid war. This means above all to prevent the partition of the country: we should not touch borders in Europe! Neither here nor anywhere. France should be a mediator. Instead, she is tied behind [Germany's Chancellor Angela] Merkel and the United States. France is discrediting herself by aligning with the Atlanticist position against her own interests. The present Ukrainian regime is very provisional. It will discredit the policy of the European Union in the region and set off new revolutionary waves. Much better to be hit by the shockwave of a people’s revolution than by that of war."
Is it wrong for a lefty to hope for a Mélenchon-Le Pen final? The left, not just in France but Europe and the US, has had almost nobody in a position to threaten power for ages and I reckon that match-up would be the best chance of having a politician who isn't a fake leftist, neoliberal like Hollande actually prevail.
Unless Le Pen won. I do see your point, Fumobici, about a strong true-left candidate being a wake-up call on the thinking of a huge portion of the poplulation, but if things went south it would be disastrous.
Kerouac, Mélenchon is "too old"?! He is only 65 -- younger than Bernie Sanders, younger than Hillary Clinton, and younger than you-know-what. I'm not a person who thinks only the agéd are fit for governing, but anyone with a strong, vibrant mind should not be dismissed because of age. That said, Mélenchon has a negative whiff of the strong man personality which seems worrisome.
He has been backpedaling quite a lot on the Bolivarian Alliance which he wanted France to join.
What "backpedaling? When did you hear him "backpedaling" The adhesion to the Bolivarian Alliance is a minor point of the program. Its purpose is to promote exchange, cultural, economic.. between French Guyana, the French Antillas and other countries of Latin America and the Caraibe.
As usual, the comments after the article are quite amusing.
Kerouac, now you take the World Socialist Web Site as a serious source??
"Now that he is rising in the polls, Mélenchon is aligning himself with those like Macron who are supporting NATO's threats against Moscow and laying the groundwork for a catastrophic world war against Russia"
Mélenchon wants France to pull out from NATO especially by fear of a war with Russia.
"wants to bring back the draft in order to prepare the French army for major wars abroad and for a stepped-up intervention in police operations in France in the context of the state of emergency."
He wants to put an end to the state of emergency.
There are so many errors, false statements, lies, call them what you like, it's laughable.
According to the same website, Poutou defends Trump's bombing of Syria. Ridiculous..
I know a professor who says a surprising number of his students quote WSWS as a credible source. They are a minuscule sect that seems to exist only to denigrate and "expose" everything on the left, from the most moderate to the most radical parties and currents. They were leafleting AGAINST the Student Spring movement here in Québec in 2012.
It is true that Mélenchon's nationalism does remind one of Marchais, but Marchais was also a slavish follower of the Kremlin lines when other CPs in Europe such as the PCI (the one I'm most familiar with, as I was studying social history in Italy) had broken with it to a much greater degree. And Marchais was a boor, and I suspect, a bully.
I can not vote for extremes. I bought huma last week and read about Mélenchon. I like his idea of making more taxes steps but I am baffled by his statement that only 0,5% of the people would be hit by his 90% tax rate - that is vice 300 k€.
First I don't find very democratic to ignore 0,5% of the people second I hate people who have nothing telling the Ines who gave how much money they are allowed to keep and third it is a proof of utter stupidity : if you overtax the riches they will pay fiscalisés to evade the taxes.
A country that doesn't like his riches is not great ...
Now I would live to see different levels of added value taxes : you go to a Michelin restaudant you have 44% of tax. You buy a Porsche ? 45% of tax. Not happy ? Buy a RENAULT !