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Tag Archives: democracy

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 […]

Inspired by Spain?

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Only three months ago, I asked myself in these columns how a politically aware French citizen could you not be jealous of Spain and the renewal of its democracy that it is currently undergoing. Sure, the Spanish learning process is difficult: instead of living with the oh, so convenient binary system and its comfortable pseudo-stability, […]

Of Human Resources and Sheer Luck

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All day long on Friday, the entire spectrum of German media paid tributes to Hans-Dietrich Genscher. They were joined in the evening by the Chancellor, who ‘bowed in deep respect for the lifetime’s work’ of the former foreign minister. All of them referred to the key scene of 30 September 1989, when Genscher appeared on […]

The poisonous heritage of François Mitterrand

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20 years ago, when television broke the news around midday that François Mitterrand had died aged 79, the collective emotion in France was almost disproportionate. A surprising number of Parisians simply stopped what they were doing, went to their flower shop, bought one red rose and deposited it on the doorsteps of the former president’s […]

Jealous of Spain

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Looking south from France in December 2015, how can you not be jealous of Spain? Sure, there’s no need to be envious of the weather, the wine and the beaches. We’ve had more than a fair share of these, too. There is also no reason to minimise the pressing problems of Spanish society, starting with […]

Post-post-materialist politics in Portugal: The left is back!

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A guest contribution by Cláudia Toriz Ramos. (Im)possible – this was the adjective I used to describe the probability of a union of the left after the Portuguese parliamentary elections. The brackets were supposed to mean ‘not excluded in theory, but far from likely to happen in practice’. Never in the history of Portuguese democracy […]

A Union of Shared Values – The Jean Monnet Conference 2015

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A report by Pam Barnes. What is the role of education and civil society in the promotion and transmission of ‘A Union of Shared Values’? This was the topic of the Jean Monnet Conference 2015, which took place in Brussels on 9/10 November. Only a few days later the horrific events in Paris on 13 November […]

The Vote and Beyond : Lessons from the Turkish Repeat Elections

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A guest contribution by Başak Alpan, from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Here’s one of the few good things about being a political science professor in Turkey: elections are never only boring econometrical calculations that no one is interested in, but each election gives you an ample amount of shock, perplexity, and challenge to cope […]

10 years ago: Giscard defends the constitutional treaty at ESSCA

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Ten years ago, in mid-April 2005, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing came to Angers in order to exchange with ESSCA students. Just six weeks before the French referendum on the constitutional treaty his visit was part of a campaign for an increasingly uncertain ‘yes’ vote. Given his role in chairing – with diplomatic skills and political know-how – the European Convention […]

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