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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

France 2017: Could she possibly win?

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What if the good old ‘scarecrow’ effect did not work anymore? What if Marine Le Pen managed to break the famous ‘glass ceiling’ of the French electoral system, which has kept her out of governmental responsibility so far? What if voters were no longer willing to rally around a ‘front républicain’ between round 1 and […]

France 2017: Protestant protests

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Not a good week for French democracy. It started with the communication of false figures from the first round of the Socialist primary, followed by the verdict sending Sarkozy’s former minister Claude Guéant to jail for his ‘automatic cash teller’ practices while in office. It ended up overshadowed by what is now known as #penelopegate, […]

France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: Jerrycans for Christmas!

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  In case you have friends or family in France and you don’t know what to offer them for Christmas, my suggestion is: buy them a set of jerrycans. They may come handy in 2017. Not at once, but once the summer is over, they might be more useful than ever. This advice is based […]

France 2017: The unexpected rehabilitation of an adjective

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For as long as I have lived in this country – a quarter century, after all – the surest way for French politicians to put an end to their political career was to make a statement, however prudent, in favour of ‘liberalism’. Once labelled a ‘liberal’, you could be sure to be turned in no […]

France 2017: Just do it!

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I did it! I participated in the primary of the right and the centre on Sunday around lunchtime. It didn’t even hurt. I paid my contribution of 2 Euros, took the 7 ballot papers, and signed, without any conflict of conscience, the ‘Charte de l’alternance’, confirming that I was in favour of political change (which […]

France 2017: How the padlock was shut

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Remember The Day of the Jackal? This thrilling movie released in 1973 and featuring Edward Fox as enigmatic contract killer, is based on the failed attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle on 22 August 1962 by the paramilitary underground organisation OAS (‘Organisation de l’armée secrète’), composed by extreme right-wing activists who considered the Evian Treaty, […]

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

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The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the […]

Ref: France (2017), Campaigns, Elections, Hangover (forthcoming).

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Before the next Tour de France starts on the 1st of July from the banks of the Rhine, the entire country will embark on a seven-month election marathon, beginning with three primaries, one of which (the Greens’) is already half-way through, with ‘the Right and the Centre’ to follow in November and the Socialists (or […]

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