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  #1  
Old 22 Apr 12, 14:33
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French Elections thread

First round of voting is underway...here are the candidates:

Quote:
Foreign press ready to bid ‘adieu’ to Sarkozy



With the French set to head to the polls for the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, foreign editorialists, reporters, and correspondents have weighed in. FRANCE 24 takes the pulse of news desks around the world.


By Jon FROSCH (text)



With the first round of the French presidential election just days away, the foreign press has weighed in.
Opinions vary, but a glance at recent editorials, articles, and reports from correspondents for publications abroad reveals a few trends: incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy has lost his lustre; Socialist challenger François Hollande is a middling candidate, but has managed to coast atop the anti-Sarkozy tide; centrist François Bayrou’s campaign is a flop; far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen is an effective communicator of toxic ideas; and far-left candidate Jean-Louis Mélenchon is questionable in substance, but dazzling in style.
Here is a sampling of the latest reviews of the main French presidential candidates from media around the world.

Nicolas Sarkozy
The sitting centre-right president has got largely negative press for not living up to the promise of his widely admired 2007 campaign and the start of his first term. An editorial in left-leaning British daily The Guardian noted that “Sarkozy's brilliance as a communicator shines no more”, and compared him to “a magician who has gone through his box of tricks”. Pondering what went wrong, the editorial concluded that “his big handicap is his own personality”.
Other publications lamented Sarkozy’s pandering to the far-right to get a leg up on rival Hollande. “President Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election campaign in France is getting a little desperate, and more than a little ugly,” read a scathing editorial in The New York Times, which in the past has had kinder words for the French president. “Regrettably, Mr. Sarkozy has no problem being frivolous or cruel if it means he can peel away some of [Marine Le Pen’s] voters.”
Argentinian daily La Nacion specified: “Sarkozy continues to abuse language and confuse basic concepts such as religion and race.” The newspaper singled out his statement that two of the soldiers killed by Mohammed Merah in March in the south of France were also “Muslims, at least in appearance”. “As if all Muslims on Earth were supposed to look Arab,” the editorial noted witheringly.
Even business paper Financial Times has dumped the French president. After Sarkozy took issue with the publication’s criticism of his handling of the economy, the Financial Times published an editorial bluntly entitled: “Yeah, well – we don't like you either, Sarko”.
François Hollande
Response to Hollande’s campaign in the foreign press has often been coloured by almost bemused wonder at how an uninspiring candidate has ended up at the presidency’s doorstep. For The New York Times, Hollande’s success can partly be explained by what the French want their politicians to look and sound like – especially in the wake of a brash, relatively unrefined president like Sarkozy. “Hollande provides a quainter and, for many, more comfortable vision of what a French politician should be,” read a profile of the candidate in The New York Times. “With his distaste for the rich and his lack of ostentation, Hollande represents a return to traditional French politics.”
A profile in The Guardian also saw Hollande benefitting from the contrast with Sarkozy. “[Hollande] reasons that after five years of the testosterone-fuelled, frenetic, rightwing Nicolas Sarkozy…this is the moment for a Mr. Ordinary,” the article assessed.
Even The Economist, the weekly magazine known for its right-leaning economic outlook, praised Hollande for doing “a good job of appearing sympathetic and solemn”, nothing that he “has deftly turned the campaign into a referendum on Mr. Sarkozy”.
Centrist Italian daily La Stampa has been harder on the Socialist, zeroing in on what they describe as his terminal blandness. “Hollande seems so nice and so honest,” read one editorial. “But he comes off as a local bureaucrat. We don’t know what’s worse: his speeches or his delivery.”

Jean-Louis Mélenchon
Foreign journalists have marvelled at the far-left candidate’s ability to draw throngs of supporters to rallies and rise in polls, despite what many depict as out-of-touch policy proposals and questionable political attitudes. Left-wing Argentinian publication Pagina 12 noted: “Whether or not one adheres to his ideas, his candidacy has been delightful. Even his ideological enemies recognise his charisma, combativeness, and talent.”
Centrist Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera indeed admired Mélenchon’s “political masterstroke: succeeding in shaking off the ex-Trotskyist label and affiliation with outdated ideologies.”
In the New York Times Opinion pages, Robert Zaretsky, a professor of French history in Texas, wrote that “Mélenchon’s politics are unabashedly radical (and for many critics utterly impractical),” but added that “he channels in remarkable ways the anxiety of a growing number of French citizens.”
New York Times editorialist John Vinocur was more sceptical. Heaccused the candidate of “infantilising” the French and slammed him for foreign policy leanings that Vinocur mockingly summarised as amounting to: “Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is a hero, the Chinese invasion of Tibet was justified, and Cuba isn’t a dictatorship”.7

Marine Le Pen
Vinocur also had harsh words for the far-right candidate, writing that she “summons French instincts in the direction of bigotry and spite” albeit “with less of a growl than her father”.
But while British tabloid The Daily Mail dismissed Le Pen for “spouting her inflammatory nonsense”, an editorialist for left-leaning Italian daily La Repubblica admitted her ability to enthral supporters – including those not pre-disposed to like her politics. “Her voice has a slight masculine hint to it, but not too much,” he wrote. “Like any good lawyer, she knows how to control how she comes off and to polish her arguments.”

François Bayrou
Centrist Bayrou has been either ignored or roundly panned by the international press for failing to capitalise on his potential in appealing to moderates not impressed with either right- or left-wing candidates. “Bayrou’s problem, though simple, is one that cannot be fixed too easily: he is nice, reasonable … and mind-blowingly boring,” read one editorial in The Guardian, which proceeded to heap unflattering adjectives on the politician: “Indecisive, characterless, insipid, monotonous, platitudinous, unexciting.”

Not that I think he has done wonderful, but I voted Sarko, because I feel the others could do worse (or in Bayrou's case...do nothing).
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  #2  
Old 22 Apr 12, 14:34
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The latest.....

Hollande 27-30%
Sarko 24-27%
Le Pen 18-22%
Melenchon 9-12%
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Old 22 Apr 12, 14:44
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could someone scribble a Primer for French politics ad elections for us?
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Old 22 Apr 12, 16:11
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The top two go through to the next round in two weeks' time.

The others go home and, perhaps, endorse one of the two remaining candidates.


Philip
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Old 22 Apr 12, 16:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listy View Post
could someone scribble a Primer for French politics ad elections for us?
What philiplaos said.

To make a long story short...the French system requires for one of the two remaining candidates to receive 50% or more of the 2nd round votes, with the minor parties throwing their weight behind the one they agree with the most, or forcing a kind of political alliance in the make up of the future government to make that happen..."co-habitation" as we say.

May 6 is the 2nd vote.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 16:34
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Of 44 million registered voters, approximately 82% voter turn out...not bad at all. Imagine that in the US!

Latest = Hollande 28.6%, Sarkozy 27%, Le Pen 19%

It indicated that most centrists went Left this time.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 16:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asterix View Post
Of 44 million registered voters, approximately 82% voter turn out...not bad at all. Imagine that in the US!

Latest = Hollande 28.6%, Sarkozy 27%, Le Pen 19%

It indicated that most centrists went Left this time.
French left wing propaganda must have done a bang up job of convincing people that the recession was the fault of "evil Capitalists", because anyone with half a brain should be able to see that Europe is in the position it's in because of the EU and ridiculous left wing socioeconomic policies.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 17:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asterix View Post
Of 44 million registered voters, approximately 82% voter turn out...not bad at all. Imagine that in the US!

Latest = Hollande 28.6%, Sarkozy 27%, Le Pen 19%

It indicated that most centrists went Left this time.
The turnout of 82% is remarkable especially as the winner will not be determinded by today's votes. In Britain we hardly get more than 60% for the General Election and the US gets 50%, so it shows the French even if they are disillisioned by the politics, they still vote.

As to the results the fact that Sarkozy could not win a lead in the first round means that it is going to be very hard for him to win in the second round as the votes for the smaller leftist parties will go to Hollande.

The far left candidate failed to do as well as expected, if in a time of reccession, the far left can not do better when they had excellent candidate and campaign, shows it has little future.

The strong support for the National Front, proves what a friend of mine who returned from a recent visit to France, that the young white working class voters would give heavy support to Madam Le Pen.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 17:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroyer25 View Post
French left wing propaganda must have done a bang up job of convincing people that the recession was the fault of "evil Capitalists", because anyone with half a brain should be able to see that Europe is in the position it's in because of the EU and ridiculous left wing socioeconomic policies.
What "left wing" policies? Most of the EU governments are centre right and practising very strong austerity measures.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 23:12
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Quote:
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What "left wing" policies? Most of the EU governments are centre right and practising very strong austerity measures.
Center right in Europe is still Social Democratic as far as I'm concerned. And the left wing policies were put in place by previous administrations and now Europe's population are a bunch of pampered cry babies who think they're entitled to anything they want. Good luck taking away things they view as "rights", which are responsible for crippling your economy. Europe is doomed unless everyone buys into complete Euroskepticism and proper Fiscal Conservative Neoliberal Capitalist Free Market economics.
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Old 22 Apr 12, 23:17
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Not really. The 'austerity' measures the Europeans have imposed so far is small fry compared to the strong medicine forced down our throats back in the 1990s, during the Asian financial crisis. Back then, the IMF really turned on the screws.

This time round, the IMF not only isn't turning on the screws, they're going around asking for money from the rest of us to help save Europe. Count me unsympathetic.

But seriously, the European economies don't need more austerity. They need growth. But not growth from government spending. They need real growth from the private sector. As such, they need to reduce the role of government in all sectors.

Raising taxes while cutting spending minimally isn't austerity at all. It's just more of the same stupidity.
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Old 23 Apr 12, 08:16
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Quote:
Center right in Europe is still Social Democratic as far as I'm concerned.
It's still right and it doesn't matter what do you think about.


Quote:
And the left wing policies were put in place by previous administrations and now Europe's population are a bunch of pampered cry babies who think they're entitled to anything they want. Good luck taking away things they view as "rights", which are responsible for crippling your economy.
We don't view this as "rights". They are our rights, since people fought to gain them.


Quote:
Europe is doomed unless everyone buys into complete Euroskepticism and proper Fiscal Conservative Neoliberal Capitalist Free Market economics.
USA are not in Euro and had al the free stuff they want, they are in the too.


Going back to the topic, I'm surprised with the progress of the Le Pen. 20% of the votes for the Front National doesn't sounds good.
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Old 23 Apr 12, 08:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroyer25 View Post
Europe is doomed unless everyone buys into complete Euroskepticism and proper Fiscal Conservative Neoliberal Capitalist Free Market economics.
*DOOMED* I tell ya -

Europe has been around for several thousand years I think it will last a little longer

On the election, I think it was over for Sarkozy when Merkel proclaimed her love for him.

Really can't imagine how any Frenchman would vote for him after that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emtos View Post
Going back to the topic, I'm surprised with the progress of the Le Pen. 20% of the votes for the Front National doesn't sounds good.
Those would be mostly former Sarkozy voters, who are diappointed in his policies, but still want nothing to do with the PS's proposed solutions, or simply disgusted with traditional party politics.

"Protest Votes" really we've had them here for decades.
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Old 23 Apr 12, 11:12
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*DOOMED* I tell ya -

Europe has been around for several thousand years I think it will last a little longer
Not if you guys and gals continue to have no babies.

According to Un projections, with Europe's current fertility rate at the level it is, you'll decline to around 482,234,000 people.
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Old 23 Apr 12, 11:31
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Human birthrate declines as standard of living goes up - for some reason humans reproduce more in adverse circumstances.

Migration from less developed countries may compensate, or standard of living may decline or both -

From an historic perpective it doesn't matter, Europe will still be there, whoever lives here, they will be Europeans.

Really nothing to do with French elections, if you want to discuss the decline of european identity, let's take it to some other thread
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